Norwood and Brixton foodbank today (25 July) urged local families to seek help if they find themselves struggling with food and finances over the school summer holidays and asked local people to donate to support its work.
New statistics show that nearly half of the children helped by foodbanks over summer holiday months are primary school pupils.
Earlier this year a local charity, the St Matthews Project, was chosen to launch a national scheme to tackle the problems that families face when school meals are no longer available for their children.
Norwood and Brixton foodbank is one of the network organised by anti-poverty charity The Trussell Trust which said that its research shows that last summer nearly half (47%) of children who received support from foodbanks in its network were five to 11 years old.
Its figures also show that 4,412 more three-day emergency food supplies were given to children in July and August 2016 than in the previous two months.
Reacting to the new statistics, The Norwood and Brixton foodbank urged local families to seek help if they find themselves struggling this summer, and asked local people who able to donate to support its work in the community.
Jon Taylor, Norwood and Brixton foodbank manager, said: “Lots of people are just getting by day-to-day, but find their income simply won’t stretch to meet the extra pressure of missing free school meals or paying for extra childcare during the holidays.
“Help is here in Lambeth. The foodbank really is run for the community, by the community; it’s all about helping each other and recognising that nobody in Lambeth should face going hungry.
“We can only continue to provide this crucial support with the community’s help. We rely on local donations to run the foodbank. An emergency food parcel, a cup of tea and a listening ear at the foodbank can have such an impact – so any donations will make a real difference.
“Everyone who comes to the foodbank is referred by a frontline professional who holds our vouchers, and that’s why we would encourage anyone worried they won’t be able to afford food during this school holiday to speak to an advice worker at one of our foodbank distribution points.”
Some 67,506 three-day emergency food supplies were provided for children by The Trussell Trust’s foodbank network in July and August 2016 compared to 63,094 in May and June 2016.
Between July and August 2016, of all the 67, 506 three-day emergency food supplies from The Trussell Trust foodbank network that went to children:
- 27% went to 0-4 year olds
- 47% went to 5-11 year olds
- 21% went to 12-16 year olds
- 5% went to children whose age was not known.
The Trussell Trust’s new data also reveal the percentage of primary school children helped by foodbanks is consistently high all year round (46% of all children referred between April 2016 and March 2017 were between 5-11), highlighting the need for support throughout the year, not only in the holidays.
The trust said its foodbanks would continue to work all year round to establish strong working relationships with local agencies to ensure that families in need can be referred to the foodbank for emergency food and support.
David McAuley, chief executive of The Trussell Trust, said: “Over a third of all the food distributed by foodbanks in our network consistently goes to children, but these new figures show 5-to-11-year-olds are more likely than other children to receive a foodbank’s help.
“This highlights just how close to crisis many families are living. We can all make a difference – checking which food your local foodbank is running low on and donating to make sure emergency food is available when people are referred to help is a simple and effective way to get involved. You could be helping a family that lives on your street.”
For up-to-date lists of urgently needed food, information about where donations can be left and to contact the foodbank about possible collection points, visit norwoodbrixton.foodbank.org.uk or search Facebook or Twitter for Norwood and Brixton Foodbank.
Norwood and Brixton foodbank has been feeding the community for six years and last year fed 8,000 people. The number of people seeking its help increased by 900 from April to July this year.
Trussell Trust foodbanks provide three days’ nutritionally balanced food and support to people in crisis in the UK.
Many also offer free additional services including money advice and budget cookery courses.
Foodbank volunteers are trained to signpost people to other agencies and services able to help resolve the underlying cause of their crisis.
More than 90% of food distributed by Trussell Trust foodbanks is donated by the public. In 2016-17 they gave 11,175 tonnes of food to people in crisis.