Section 6: Food Poverty


Table 6.1

Food Aid Stats for Leeds 2016/17 2017/18 2018/19 2019/20 2020/21 Annual Change 2019/20-2020/21


Annual Change 2019/20-2020/2021


The number of times people have benefitted from Foodbanks 26,831 27,902 33,645 41,606


61,137 +19,531 +47%
Number of meals given out from Drop ins and Street Outreaches. 60,474 81,024 108,389 108,345


100,707 -7638 -7%
Number of food parcels given out informally. 15,681 13,715 15,613 15,968


153,335 +137,367 +860%
Source: Leeds Food Aid Network (FAN), September 2021

Leeds FAN helps bring different people, initiatives and institutions together who are involved in tackling food poverty in Leeds. This includes foodbanks, drop ins / soup kitchens, Street Outreaches, specialised services providing food for Asylum seekers / Refugees, informal parish pantries and certain forms of Social Enterprise run on a community café/pay as you feel models.

FareShare Yorkshire – part of Leeds FAN – prioritises getting food distributed to where it is needed using the skills, abilities and resources originally set up by the national organisation FareShare UK.  FareShare takes surplus food from the food industry and distributes it fairly to different food aid providers.  Latest figures reveal:

  • 61,137 people have accessed a foodbank in 2020/21. This is a 47% increase on 2019/20*
  • 100,707 meals were given out through a drop in or through Street Outreach. Food provision via this route decreased from 2019/20*
  • 153,335 food parcels were given out informally via Community Care Hubs, Emergency Food Provisions, parish pantries etc which is a 860%% increase on 2019/20*

***The multiple significant changes from 2019/20 to 2020/21 are attributable to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. New citywide emergency food processes were established and many more local organisations began to offer food support in order to respond to increased demand, caused by self isolation and shielding measures in addition to residents otherwise identified as vulnerable.

National Government lockdown restrictions and  new processes locally also changed the way some vulnerable residents accessed food support which also impacted the 2020/21 figures i.e Some food banks and provisions such as street outreaches/drop ins were unable to operate, particularly during lockdown periods, and residents that would ordinarily have accessed food via these services were supported through alternative emergency food processes instead.