Volunteer at a community store run by Evelyn Community Store and Action Against Hunger partner Lewisham Homes

Hunger in the UK

We’ve supported local partners in areas with some of the highest rates of child poverty in the UK to expand their programmes to help people thrive and not just survive.

What’s the problem?

Times are tough in the UK and getting tougher. A growing number of people in the UK can’t get by.

Having no food and no money means you have no control and no say over your life. It affects your physical health and your emotionally wellbeing.

Hunger in the UK is not new. But, in the modern age, the levels of hunger are. In the past two years the cost-of-living crisis and Covid have dragged more people into poverty and hunger.

As a result, more and more people are being forced to ask for help. Many food banks, community kitchens, food pantries and social supermarkets are seeing record levels of demand.

Around 2.5 million children experienced food poverty between August 2021 and January 2022.

Facts and figures

  • 2,500

    With support from Barclays, we're aiming to help more than 2,500 people through food pantries in London, the West Midlands and Greater Manchester.

  • 4%

    4% of UK adults living with children reported having gone for a whole day without eating in 2020.

  • 14%

    14% of UK adults living with children said they had struggled to provide food for their family in 2020.

Buying decent food is vital for people’s health. But often healthy food is beyond people’s means. Some adults say they are sacrificing their meals so their children can eat.

And for many people – like those with Type 1 and 2 diabetes, the elderly and pregnant women – going without healthy food at regular intervals is not an option. They have to eat well and they have to eat regularly.

More and more people are relying on food banks, but they often don’t give out fresh fruit and veg. And even they are facing supply problems as fewer people can afford to donate to them.

What’s the solution ?

In 2020, for the first time in our forty-year history, Action Against Hunger started working in the UK to tackle hunger right here.

We are pitching in. Doing what we do best: sharing our expertise and knowledge to help people tackle hunger.

Wherever we work internationally, we know local solutions solve local problems. Our expertise and our knowledge support the work local communities can do. So, we work in partnership with local people, with everyone bringing their skills together for the good of all.

Play videoAction Against Hunger is supporting community based food stores around the UK

Healthy meals healthy lives

Action Against Hunger is supporting community based stores around the UK to improve access to healthy foods by distributing surplus food stock, and in turn reducing waste.

We’ve partnered with groups in areas of high deprivation and where hunger levels are rising. In Manchester, southeast London, the West Midlands and the South West, we’ve set up community kitchens, food pantries and social supermarkets for the most vulnerable families.

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What's a community pantry?

We meet the people who run and visit Action Against Hunger-supported community pantries across the UK. Along with a wide variety of food that participants can shop for at discounted prices, the pantries also provide a crucial social lifeline for people in underserved communities.

Providing healthy and affordable food

A social supermarket is a shop that sells food to people on a lower income at a huge discount. It’s like a normal supermarket with a lot of choice but goods are available at a fraction of the price of high street stores.

Food pantries are similar, but members pay a small fee to join and in return they get to choose their own discounted food, plus they get access to fresh fruit and vegetables, helping maintain a healthy diet for them and their families.

They both buy up high-quality, surplus food. So it’s cheaper and so nothing goes to waste.

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Somerset Local Pantry Network

Watch this video to see the impact food pantries are making in the communities we serve in Somerset.

Community kitchens are different.

They provide hot meals to hungry guests – including people who are homeless, families living with food poverty and people who are isolated and lonely.

Guests can simply come along and enjoy great food and company in a welcoming community setting.

It’s about filling hungry stomachs. But it’s also about meeting others, making friends and beating loneliness.

A woman walking through a field at an Action Against Hunger project in Mali.

Where we work

We fight hunger and malnutrition in 46 countries around the world.

Learn more about our programmes

Action Against Hunger and our partners make sure the people we help not only get filling food, but healthy and nutritious food as well.

We teach people how to cook great, healthy and nutritious meals. And we work with some of our food and hospitality partners – such as Tenderstem Broccoli, YO! Sushi and Pizza Pilgrims – to run healthy cooking workshops as well.

We’re also working with Somerset County Council to help them set up a network of food pantries across the county.

And we want to go further. Now more than ever, we must all work hand in hand to support communities in the UK who are suffering.

Meet our partners


Staff members at Brasshouse Community Centre, Smethwick, West Midlands.

Based in Smethwick in the West Midlands, Brasshouse promotes social enterprise, social inclusion and real community action for local people.

Smethwick CAN

Food provided at a community food store supported by Action Against Hunger

Smethwick Church Action Network aims to transform lives in Smethwick in the West Midlands by supporting the immediate and ongoing food needs of community members.

Lewisham Homes

Evelyn Community Store, run by our partner Lewisham Homes

Based in South East London, Lewisham Homes is a not-for-profit organisation that improves housing in the local area and finds new ways to invest in the community.

Somerset Local Pantry Network

The Somerset Local Pantry network is an informal network of independent Local Pantries who work together to support their shared goals.

A woman walking through a field at an Action Against Hunger project in Mali.

Where we work

We fight hunger and malnutrition in 46 countries around the world.

Learn more about our programmes
30-year-old Abdul received crop training from Action Against Hunger.

Why hunger?

Poor diets and malnutrition aren’t a matter of personal choices – the world’s poorest people simply can’t access or afford to eat a healthy diet.

Together we can change this