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Slough Foodbank is purchasing more food than ever before as donations are down and food poverty crisis is at its highest – the stark reality of the first 6 months of 2024

3rd July 2024


  • Stock purchasing increased by 17%
  • Current stock in our warehouse is 32% lower
  • Food poverty crisis continues: 6,081 food parcels distributed up 6%

Stock purchased
  6 months 2023
Jan – June
6 months 2024
Jan – June
Percentage change
Stock purchased Kgs 1,958 9,241 17% increase

Slough Foodbank is purchasing more stock than ever before as donations are decreasing and the need is increasing. We are now having to purchase over a fifth of all stock given to clients. This means that we are even more reliant on financial donations from supporters of Slough Foodbank.


Stock balance at end of June

June 2023

June 2024

Percentage change
Stock in Kgs 21,302 14,495 32% decrease

At the end of June, the stock in the warehouse was 32% less than the same time last year. There is just under 14.5 tonnes compared with 21.3 tonnes last year. To add to the worry, over a third of the stock is surplus pasta and baked beans. The reality being that the key essential ingredients – like tinned meat, tinned fruit and vegetables, long-life fruit juice and milk – that make up our nutritious, 3-day food parcels are missing from the warehouse. We have empty shelves for some items and have only 1-2 weeks supply of other items which means that purchasing food has now become a priority. This puts huge demand on our resources both in terms of time and money.


Food parcels
Jan – June
Jan – June
Percentage change
Adults 3,484 3,970 14% increase
Children 2,226 2,111 5% decrease
Total 5,710 6,081 6% increase


Breakdown by month
Month Number of food parcels Percentage change vs same month in 2023
January 2024 1050 8% increase
February 2024
Government cost of living payments made in February
917 4%increase
*March 2024 1219 19% decrease
April 2024 846 19% increase
May 2024 999 35% increase
June 2024 1002 7% increase

* The timing of the cost of living payments both in 2023 and 2024 meant that March 2023 was the busiest month ever for Slough Foodbank, whereas the payment in Feb 2024 would have helped cause a temporary decrease in need.


Graph showing number of food parcels by month Jan – June, from 2020 to 2024.

There’s been a 6% increase in the total number of food parcels given out and a 14% increase in the number of adults helped. More referrals are coming into the foodbank than ever before, and we have noticed a shift towards more single people needing help. The reality for many is that universal credit is not enough to cover basic essentials forcing more people to make tough decisions about whether to pay bills or put food on the table. It’s a stark reality that year on year the increase in demand for Slough Foodbank continues – it’s not a trend that’s acceptable.


Slough Foodbank Manager, Laura Cole commented:

“It is disheartening and some weeks overwhelming seeing first-hand the continuing need – there are new faces every week, as more and more people are facing food poverty crisis and turning to us, often as a last resort. With over 6,000 food parcels in the first half of the year, we are under real pressure to meet this demand both on supply of food, which we rely on donations for, as well as volunteers who sort food, prepare food parcels, deliver to our distribution centres and serve clients.


Through our partnership with Citizens Advice East Berkshire, we can see the complex issues that people in food poverty are facing. Rarely is it just one issue that forces them to need to use a Foodbank. More often it’s a range of issues including benefits, low income, debt, unemployment, housing, homelessness, ill health and general cost of living.


There is lots for us to do to ensure we can provide food during a time of crisis and continue to help raise the profile of food poverty and lobby for those who are in need. That’s why we are supporting the Trussell Trust’s campaign to ‘Guarantee our Essentials’ and that, at a minimum, Universal Credit should protect people from going without essentials such as food, household bills or travel costs.”

Slough Foodbank’s prime function is to supply a three-day emergency food parcel to those who suddenly find themselves in an unexpected crisis.  In addition to food, we also supply basic toiletries and household products, as well as nappies, baby wipes and pet food if required.

Slough Foodbank also provided 345 emergency fuel vouchers for home gas or electricity for clients who qualify to receive food parcels, and who top up their meter at a pay point or a post office. This is to enable clients to cook the food we provide or heat their homes. The increase in fuel costs meant that many clients faced the tough decision over the winter months of whether to eat or heat their homes.

Slough Foodbank provided 480 SIM cards to clients to enable them to stay digitally connected and help access further support online.

If you would like to support Slough Foodbank please visit: https://slough.foodbank.org.uk/give-help-2/

You can support us by making a financial donation, donating food(see our shopping needs list) or volunteering.


We were grateful to Berkshire Community Foundation for a £5,000 grant in April specifically for toiletries. We have to focus on our primary objective of providing food parcels and recently we’ve been struggling to provide the toiletries that we would like to.

Slough Foodbank has been providing emergency food parcels to people in food poverty . crisis since 2010 and the area we support covers from Taplow in the West to Colnbrook in the East, and from Gerrards Cross, The Farnhams and Iver, to Datchet and parts of Windsor. We operate 6 days a week, out of 5 distributions centres in Slough (town centre), Langley, Cippenham, Iver and Britwell.

Our statistics are a measure of volume rather than unique users. The data is collected using an online system recording each food bank voucher and the number of emergency food supplies provided by adult and child. For example, if a family of three were referred to Slough Foodbank twice in one year, this would count as six food parcels on the system because it would reflect six instances of a supply going to someone in the household. However, if a family of three were only referred to a Slough Foodbank once, this would count as three food parcels.

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