The Norwood and Brixton Foodbank are appealing for local support and donations after a steep rise in the number of people using the service. It fears that the roll out of Universal Credit next month, where people will have to wait for up to six weeks before they receive the first payment, will make matters worse.
Half-yearly figures (till September) show the number of people depending on three-day emergency food supplies rose steeply –compared with the same period last year – up from 3,248 to 4,404. The Foodbank is a member of the Trussell Trust’s network that reported an overall increase in UK foodbank use.
The Foodbank believes the local increase is due to people struggling with benefit payments and low wages and fears that the number of people dependent on its support is likely to increase in the months leading up to Christmas.
Elizabeth Maytom, Project Lead for The Norwood and Brixton Foodbank said: “It’s really worrying that we are still seeing an increase in need for emergency food across Lambeth.
“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.”
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.”
The foodbank welcomes any new offers of help with funding – local businesses, organisations and individuals interested can find out more here.
For up-to-date lists of urgently needed food, information about where donations can be left and to contact the foodbank visit norwoodbrixton.foodbank.org.uk.