This year, Frontier Agriculture is donating £20 for every one of its 1,000 employees to the Trussell Trust, a charity working to end UK hunger and poverty.
The £20,000 donation will be split between eight Trussell Trust food banks operating in regions where Frontier has significant numbers of employees. The Lincoln, Bedford, West Berkshire, Waveney, Market Drayton, York, Aberdeen South and East Lothian food banks have all been selected by Frontier and its employees to receive the donations.
“2020 has been a challenging year for everyone,” says Frontier managing director, Mark Aitchison. “While many businesses and their employees have been faced with impossible circumstances due to Covid-19 - having to reduce production or furlough employees - we, and many others in agriculture, have been more fortunate. We have been able to provide a full service to our farmer customers and continue to play our part in the food production supply chain throughout without fear of redundancies or furlough.
“A number of our employees suggested that they would like to see us provide additional support to the wider community this Christmas, to help those in need. We also know from some of our colleagues who volunteer themselves at local food banks that the need for help is greater than ever. That is why we have chosen to support the Trussell Trust in this way.”
Matthew Scade, project manager at the Waveney food bank in Norfolk explained how the charity has been affected by the pandemic.
“At the Waveney branch, we’ve seen a 330% increase in service users since April. We’ve already helped over 8,000 people with five months to go until the end of the financial year. It is without a doubt Covid-19 that has led to such an increase in need. We usually see around a 10% increase year-on-year, so such a jump is unprecedented,” he says.
The Waveney branch supports a population of almost 35,000 people, but this year, the need has been greater than ever.
“We’ve found that rural areas have been the most affected,” says Matthew. “Many people have lost their means to transport through the pandemic and others have lost their income entirely. We’ve especially seen a huge impact on the self-employed.
“What’s more, many of the agencies that usually support those in need are struggling to operate due to current circumstances. This means even more people in need are being referred to us. We support food bank users by providing three-day emergency food packs when alternatives are unavailable.
“We really just want to say a huge thank you to Frontier for this generous donation which will really make a difference to people most in need this Christmas. Without this kind of support, we wouldn’t be able to continue the work we do.”