There has been a 22 per cent increase in the number of emergency food parcels given to local people in the last year. West Cheshire Foodbank, which distributes food parcels to individuals and families throughout Chester and Ellesmere Port, has given out 9651 food parcels in the past 12 months
The three day emergency food parcels were distributed to local people between April 2018 – March 2019. And a staggering 3552 of the recipients – more than a third – were children.
The local food bank’s figures feed into a larger national picture with a record increase in food bank use across the UK reported this week by the Trussell Trust.
West Cheshire Foodbank is backing calls from the Trussell Trust to ensure the benefits system is able to protect people from poverty.
The figures from West Cheshire Foodbank are a 22% increase on the same period last year. The charity believes a large part of the local increase is due to people struggling with continued issues with benefit payments/issues such as the five-week wait for Universal Credit.
Ian Oulton, Foodbank Trustee said:
“No one in the Chester and Ellesmere Port area should need a food bank’s help and we want to see an end to local people needing emergency food at all. It doesn’t have to be this way – our benefits system is supposed to protect us all from being swept into poverty. Universal Credit should be part of the solution but currently the five week wait is leaving many without enough money to cover the basics.
“Until we reach a future where food banks are no longer needed, we’ll continue to provide vital support when it matters most. We’re dedicated to ensuring that people in our community without enough money for food are able to access emergency support. Our vital work in the community has only been possible in the last year because of the incredible generosity shown by our dedicated volunteers and local people and businesses in donating food, time and funds..”
West Cheshire Food Bank is self-funding – relying on donations of foodstuffs and cash to cover the £60k annual running costs . Money has to be raised to fund the rented warehouse space, a van to pick up donated food and deliver to distribution centres, and overheads including utilities and insurance.
The Food Bank is constantly looking for funding support from local businesses, organisations and individuals. Find out more at www.westcheshire.foodbank.org.uk or by contacting [email protected]
Official figures and details about use of foodbanks over the last year across the UK can be found at the Trussell Trust website HERE.