The Trussell Trust: "UK foodbanks are feeding over 100,000"
The rising cost of food combined with high unemployment and changes to benefits are causing more and more people across the country to come to our network of foodbanks for help.
The growth of UK foodbanks – we’re launching new ones at a rate of three per week – is something I have conflicting feelings about.
On one hand, I’m impressed by the way communities are stepping up to stop neighbours going hungry. Last year 1.5 million people got involved in donating food. We estimate it may be 2.25 million this year. It’s a heart-warmingly huge response.
On the other hand, it’s increasingly obvious to us that the vulnerability of people on low incomes is widespread and getting worse. Somewhere between 55 to 60 per cent of people we help are in working households.
So we are not, unfortunately, talking about a small proportion of the population struggling with the basics. Last year we helped feed almost 130,000 nationwide and it will be significantly more this year. We’re seeing a marked increase in the number of people having benefits delayed and being stuck in limbo.
Foodbanks are voluntary enterprises. Every community in the country should have one as a form of emergency support. But we are a service that deals with crisis intervention and we can only handle a certain volume of demand. We want to see less people in desperate crisis in the first place.
By Chris Mould, executive chairman, The Trussel Trust