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CARe Seminar: Foodbanks

Embarrassment and gratitude:
The experience of food bank use in England

Took place Thursday, 18 October 2018 from 12:00 to 14:00 (BST)
University of Salford | Allerton Building 

This seminar highlighted that food bank use engenders feelings of both embarrassment and gratitude among those accessing them. Analysis of interviews conducted with food bank staff and people using food banks throughout the Liverpool City Region shows that both terms came up frequently. Other academic literature on food bank use in the UK where this trend has been identified was also discussed.

The factors which lead to these feelings among people receiving charitable food assistance as well as the social stigma surrounding the experience of poverty itself was explored, along with consideration of the nature of charitable giving and receiving in the context of the gratitude or expected gratitude of those receiving assistance.

Speaker - Alan Connolly, PhD student, Lancaster University.

Alan’s ESRC-funded PhD research examines the rise in demand for food bank services in England over the past decade, utilising the Liverpool City Region, the city with the highest use of food banks in England, as a case study. His aim is to deepen understanding about emergency food aid in England. Key questions explored are: What are food banks? Why have food banks proliferated? What do they reveal about poverty in contemporary England?

Alan’s key argument is that an individualistic understanding of poverty characterises the current government’s food poverty policy and this can also be seen in historical policies and political rhetoric. He argues that this policy stance is linked to the growth in food bank numbers and demand for services