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Stats reveal increase in use of Knowsley Foodbank

Between 1 April and 30 September 2017, 1534 three-day emergency food supplies were provided to local people in crisis by Knowsley Foodbank, compared to 1452 in the same period in the previous year. Of the 3855 people fed, 1720 were children.

The foodbank, a member of The Trussell Trust’s network which has recently reported an increase in UK foodbank use, believes the local increase is due to people struggling with continued issues with benefit payments, Universal Credit, low wages, insecure work and rising costs.

In the months leading to Christmas factors, such as cold weather and high energy bills, or foodbanks and referral agencies ensuring that people who are likely to hit crisis have food ahead of Christmas Day, mean The Trussell Trust’s foodbank network traditionally sees a spike in foodbank use.

Knowsley Foodbank is asking the community to help them prepare for their busiest time of year by supporting their collection at Tesco, Prescot donating urgently needed food items and getting involved as a volunteer.

Knowsley Foodbank would really appreciate receiving any special Christmas goods by early December, so they can be sure all donations get to those that most need them in time for Christmas.

Knowsley Foodbank is concerned about the future rollout of full Universal Credit in the local area in February, following evidence from other foodbanks in The Trussell Trust’s network about the issues people referred to them have experienced with the new system.

The 6+ week waiting period for a first payment can contribute to debt, mental health issues and rent arrears. The effects of these can last even after people receive their Universal Credit payments, as bills and debts pile up.

Knowsley Foodbank is preparing to help prevent local people affected going hungry but is troubled by the extra pressure this puts on food donation stocks and volunteers’ capacity.  

Sue Torpey, Foodbank manager of Knowsley Foodbank said: “It’s really worrying that we are still seeing an increase in need for emergency food across Knowsley.  

“Every week people are referred to us after something unavoidable - like illness, a delayed benefit payment or an unexpected bill - means there’s no money for food.

“It’s only with local people’s help that we’re able to provide vital support when it matters most, and whilst we hope one day there’ll be no need for our work, until that day comes we’ll be working hard to help prevent people going hungry.

“Thank you so much to everyone who already donates time, food and money to help local people. If you’re not already involved, we’d love to hear from you!”

Mark Ward, interim chief executive at The Trussell Trust, said: “We’re seeing soaring demand at foodbanks across the UK.

“Our network is working hard to stop people going hungry, but the simple truth is that even with the enormous generosity of our donors and volunteers, we’re concerned foodbanks could struggle to meet demand this winter if critical changes to benefit delivery aren’t made now.

“People cannot be left for weeks without any income, and when that income does come, it must keep pace with living costs – foodbanks cannot be relied upon to pick up the pieces.

“Without urgent action from policy-makers and even more generous practical support from the public, we don’t know how foodbanks are going to stop families and children going hungry this Christmas.”

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