The Reality of Food Poverty in Lincoln

A new report shows a dramatic rise in the number of Lincoln residents needing emergency food parcels from the city’s food banks.

The greatest increase is among households with children: children now account for 35% of all people fed by food banks in Lincoln. 

The two largest food bank networks in Lincoln provided almost 47,000 meals in the last three months.

At the same time, there has been a collapse in the amount of food being donated: “surplus food” stocks are down, particularly chilled and fresh produce.

Since the publication of the report, Fareshare has made the hard decision to close the Lincoln depot, in order to consolidate its operations. 

Summary of report findings:

  • Referrals to Lincoln food banks have increased by 45% compared to this time last year
  • In March, 1 out of every 172 households in the City received an emergency food parcel
  • Almost 47,000 meals have been provided by food banks in Lincoln since the new year
  • Referrals have doubled over the past two years – since a previous high during the COVID Pandemic
  • The largest growth is in multiple person households, with children now accounting for 35% of all people supported by food banks in the City
  • Supply of food donations is not keeping pace with the increase in demand
  • FareShare, a charity that collects surplus food stock from farms, manufacturers, distributors and retailers, has seen a significant decrease in the amount of surplus food available: a 27% reduction since December.

In the week commencing 19th March 2023 alone, Lincoln Foodbank and Lincoln Community Larder received 247 referrals for households struggling with the cost of food.

This does not include people who use other emergency food providers and food support in the city.

Alternatives to foodbanks

To access support from a food bank requires a referral from a school, certain charities, GPs, local authority, social worker or church.

There is an increasing number of organisations offering very low cost food, typically donated “surplus food” that is diverted from landfill, available to everyone, in a drive to help reduce the need for emergency food parcels.

Mint Lane Cafe and the Lincoln Community Grocery help people to move away from a reliance on foodbanks, by providing dignified access to very low cost meals and groceries.

Despite the popularity of these initiatives, the need for emergency food continues to rise.

Reasons for the rising inequality and deepening poverty are compounded by the cost of living crisis.

Simon Hoare

“There is no single solution to the issue of food poverty.

The Greater Lincolnshire Food Partnership has an ‘Emergency Response Group’ in Lincoln focused on food poverty in the City and a collaborative approach to reducing it.

We are working on a strategy to reduce dependency on emergency food parcels.

Elements of this strategy, which is a work in progress and is focusing on complex and interlinked causes and effects, include: understanding the root causes of food poverty, collaborative working and better communication between partners, building community and focusing on wellbeing, supporting surplus food groceries / pantries as alternatives to food banks, and income maximisation and courses.”

Simon Hawking, CEO of Acts Trust

Ways to help


Local businesses are encouraged to have ‘donation points’ in their premises – for staff and customers to donate to food banks.

Fareshare Midlands hopes to work with local producers and growers to find more surplus food and would welcome any introductions. They can explain to producers and growers how FareShare works and the process for donating surplus food.

Personal support can also be given through volunteering and financial donations.

Volunteer or donate:

Food bank

● Donate online to Lincoln Foodbank:

● Donate online to Lincoln Community Larder:

● Volunteer with Lincoln Community Grocery:

● Find out how to support a foodbank near you:

You can find your nearest foodbank or local food support on this map.

Show your support for free school food:

The provision of free school meals helps to ensure that no child has to suffer hunger or poor nutrition.

Research shows that providing healthy meals for all children equally is more effective in reaching those most in need too, as it removes stigma from the whole programme and means no one slips through the net, and normalises good food for all children.

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