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Islamic Relief UK and Aston Villa FC join hands to help struggling families through the cost of living crisis 

On Wednesday January 25, Islamic Relief UK partnered with Aston Villa FC to distribute hundreds of essential food hampers to vulnerable families in Birmingham. 

The new year continues to see the cost of living crisis pushing families into poverty and Birmingham has seen an alarming rise in food insecurity and the need for financial assistance, fuelling the need for food banks. 

A new report by the resolution foundation finds that there are large increases in people unable to afford essentials compared to the pre-pandemic period. In November 2022, 28 per cent (up from 9 per cent pre-pandemic) of adults say that they could not afford to eat balanced meals, and 11 per cent or 6 million adults (up from 5 per cent pre-pandemic) reported being hungry in the past month but they didn’t eat as they lacked enough money to buy food.

In a late 2022 report by Birmingham City Council, the cost of living crisis was declared an emergency with findings of 300,000 residents in Birmingham already living in poverty, with many more highly exposed to the crisis.

These very alarming outcomes are more common among groups known to experience disadvantage. This includes low-income families, those suffering from domestic abuse, the homeless, asylum seekers and refugees who were already struggling to feed themselves.

Many families in Birmingham have been hit hard by the pandemic and suffered a cold winter of choosing whether to heat or eat. 

To help some of the most vulnerable, hampers were packed with essential food items by staff and volunteers at Villa Park, before delivery to locations across the city.

The food packs contain essential items such as bread, pasta, tea, biscuits, oil, sugar and others. 

Ross Alexander, Foundation and Community Partnerships Manager of Aston Villa FC said: “As an anchor institution in the Aston area, supporting our families and neighbours through the current cost of living crisis is needed more than ever. 

Working with Islamic Relief UK allows us to further support and have a wider impact on more communities across Birmingham. We thank Islamic Relief UK for their support and we look forward to working with them again in the future.”

Tufail Hussain, Director of Islamic Relief UK said: “Food banks are not a sustainable or dignified way to help people who are struggling to survive because they do not have a sufficient or reliable income. We will continue to support the most vulnerable through our programmes, but food banks should not exist in one of the wealthiest countries in the world.”

“The current cost of living crisis has revealed just how much the UK’s benefits system is failing to support those on the lowest incomes. Only long-term structural change will give people the best chance of escaping poverty and living with dignity.

“The UK government must do more to deal with the immediate impacts of the cost of living crisis, but also undertake a fundamental review of the UK’s social security system with a view to ensuring benefits provide people with an adequate income to cover their essential needs.” 


Notes to editors

For any questions or to request to interview one of our spokespeople, please contact:

Saeedah Haque [email protected] 020 3148 3217

About Aston Villa FC

The Aston Villa Foundation is a registered charity (number 1152848) that delivers the community and social responsibility work of Aston Villa Football Club.

Working alongside key local and national stakeholders, the Foundation delivers projects, initiatives and provides opportunities to achieve its mission of ‘Working Together to Enrich Lives’.

The Foundation and its partners work with people from a variety of backgrounds in Birmingham as well as supporting the wider ‘Aston Villa family’ through several departments including schools, football in the community, disability, health and wellbeing, education, interventions and community relations.

About Islamic Relief

Islamic Relief is a faith-inspired, development and humanitarian agency working to transform and save the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in over 40 countries. Islamic Relief assists people according to need and does not discriminate in any way.

Set up in Birmingham in 1984 by a group of volunteers, we have assisted over 117 million people all over the world. We’re saving lives and empowering people to lift themselves out of poverty in over 40 countries – from Bangladesh to Bosnia, Pakistan to Palestine, Kenya to Kosovo. Islamic Relief is on the ground in some of the world’s most dangerous and difficult places – including Syria and Yemen – strengthening the most marginalised communities to withstand conflict and natural disasters and to build a brighter future. We also support vulnerable people in the UK in partnership with local charities and organisations.

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