Reporting on 2023.

Posted by: Nicole Fewtrell
Estimated Reading Time: 4 min

“2023 was a pivotal year”, writes Richard Owens our CEO, “coming off the back of the COVID crisis with many people adjusting their working patterns and still feeling the effects of that emergency, this year saw massive rises in fuel and energy prices and a sustained increase in the rate of inflation. There was not a family in our area that did not feel the effects. That has allowed us to reinforce our message that Compassion Acts is here for a much wider range of people than many perceive. It makes the conversation about the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ a lot less polarised.

Given this economic background, you might have expected a sharp rise in Foodbank referrals. In fact, our numbers slightly reduced from the previous year (2022: 4711 people fed). This stability, or modest fall in numbers, is a sign of the impact we have had and the model we have adopted. For several years now, we have prioritised preventative measures such as Welfare Benefits Advice, Food Pantries Social Wellbeing activities, and Warm Spaces and it appears to have paid off. Rising numbers of people seeking urgent food supplies at a Foodbank would be a sign of failure, not success.

We took steps to invest some of our reserves in adapting the Victoria Centre so it is even better equipped with small rooms to give privacy for the increased number of welfare advice appointments. In addition, we are seeing reduced food donations, largely, and understandably, due to the cost of living crisis. As food prices have risen, the public have had to adapt their donations accordingly, bringing our overall levels down. It was a year where we as an organisation had to purchase more food than ever before to fill those gaps. Together, donors, partners, volunteers and service users have navigated 2023 and all its challenges. Thank you.”

If you’d like to read the full version of our Impact Report you can download the PDF version here.

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