Another big jump in demand for local foodbanks

people working in Foodbank in church
Norwood & Brixton foodbank’s warehouse at St Margaret’s Church, Streatham

Local foodbanks said today (26 April) that they distributed 15% more emergency food parcels in the last 12 months compared to the previous year.

They are concerned that they will soon struggle to keep up with demand.

The national food bank charity, the Trussell Trust, said that such increases showed that it is continuing low levels of income and a social security system that is not fit for purpose that are forcing more people to need food banks, rather than the recent cost of living crisis or the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Lambeth, some 25,267 emergency food parcels were provided to people facing hardship. Nearly 10,000 (9,634) of them were for children.

New annual figures from the Trussell Trust show that almost 3m (2,986,203) food parcels were given out across the UK – more than ever before.

The trust is calling for a stronger social security system that will cover essentials, like food, heating, and clothes.

Elizabeth Maytom MBE, project lead at the Norwood and Brixton Foodbank, said: “We’re upset but not surprised to see yet another increase in the number of people using our foodbank.

“People are struggling to afford the basics like electricity and gas, and, of course, the increase in food costs has really hit people.

We’re pleased that we have been able to provide a lifeline to so many, but are concerned we will soon struggle to keep up with the demand.

We’re so grateful for donations made by the local community and we ask for their continued support in this difficult climate.

Sabastian, a home owner who has fallen into arrears with his mortgage, was forced to use the foodbank on several occasions this winter.

He said: “I didn’t think it would be this tough. I’ve been unemployed for some time, but I’ve never needed to use a foodbank.

“Everything just costs too much. Without the food and the SIM card I got from the foodbank I wouldn’t have survived the winter.

“I have a job starting in May, so I hope things will get easier for me. I worry for those who don’t have a job.”

The Lambeth Foodbank Partnership is a collaboration between the Norwood and Brixton foodbankWaterloo foodbank and Clapham Park foodbank.

It is part of the Trussell Trust’s network, which reported record levels of need in the past 12 months with almost 3m (2,986,203) emergency food parcels provided to people facing hardship between April 2022 and March 2023.

More than a million of these parcels were provided for children.

Trussell Trust chief executive Emma Revie said:  “These new statistics are extremely concerning and show that an increasing number of people are being left with no option but to turn to charitable, volunteer-run organisations to get by, and this is not right.

“The continued increase in parcel numbers over the last five years indicates that it is ongoing low levels of income and a social security system that isn’t fit for purpose that are forcing more people to need food banks, rather than just the recent cost of living crisis or the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Lambeth Foodbank Partnership was set up to provide short-term support to people in an emergency, they are not a lasting solution to hunger and poverty, and more than three quarters of the UK population agree with us that they should not need to exist.

“The staff and volunteers at The Lambeth Foodbank Partnership are working tirelessly to ensure help continues to be available, but the current situation is not one they can solve alone.

“For too long, the people of Lambeth have been going without because social security payments do not reflect life’s essential costs and people are being pushed deeper into hardship as a result.

“If we are to stop this continued growth and end the need for food banks then the UK government must ensure that the standard allowance of Universal Credit is always enough to cover essential costs.” 

To help ensure that everyone has the income they need to afford the essentials, the Trussell Trust has joined with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in urging the UK government to embed in law an Essentials Guarantee that would make sure Universal Credit payments always, at a minimum, provide enough to the cover cost of essentials such as food, utilities and vital household goods.

 Foodbank parcels provided
1 April 2022 – 31 March 2023
To adultsTo childrenTotal
Lambeth foodbanks15,633963425,267