Clients referred to Cambridge City Foodbank by Cambridge & District CAB 2014/15

What is a food bank?

Food banks support people in financial crisis who cannot afford to buy food and/or fuel.

The first foodbank in the UK was set up in 2000 by Trussell Trust. In 2004 the charity launched a franchise model to teach churches and communities nationwide how to start their own foodbank. Schools, churches, businesses and individuals donate non- perishable in date food to a foodbank for people in financial crises. Food is also collected at supermarket collection points: these are events held at supermarkets where volunteers give shoppers a ‘foodbank shopping list’ and ask them to donate items of food.

Foodbanks are welcoming public distribution centres which are usually located in local churches. People are given three days’ worth of food per food voucher, and can be issued up to 3 vouchers per emergency.

Why did we do the research?

We were the largest individual referrer to Cambridge City Foodbank in 2014/15. As foodbank referrals are so significant to our work we wanted to better understand who are referring and why.

The research was also done to raise awareness of the difficulties faced by the poorest households in Cambridge. Cambridge is considered to be a very wealthy city and so issues related to poverty can be overlooked. Finally, very little research has been undertaken into the profile of foodbank users. This research is the first of its kind to be published and openly available to the public.

What does the data show?

The research shows that some households are proportionately more likely to run out of resources quicker than others when they face a crisis. These household types include:

  • Single person households
  • Ethnic minorities
  • Those aged between 40 and 50 years old
  • Homeless people

Further information

To read the full report on the profile of Cambridge & District CAB clients that need foodbanks go to: The report also contains information indicating main reasons why people need foodbanks.

We are currently undertaking further research to look into reasons why people need vouchers in greater depth, and their experiences of using foodbanks.

By highlighting the reasons behind the need for food vouchers, we can suggest changes to local/national policy. Also further research will consider what more can be done to ensure people get the correct entitlements.

If you would like to find out more about our research contact Helen Crowther, Research and Campaigns Coordinator (

Clients referred to Cambridge City Foodbank by Cambridge & District CAB 2014/15