More pensioners using local food banks

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

People facing hardship in the Lambeth and Croydon area received 27,109 emergency food parcels in the past year, with 9,632 of these going to children, figures released today (15 May) by The Lambeth Partnership of Foodbanks have revealed.

The partnership, which warned that donations from the public are no longer meeting the demand for help, saw a 9.5% increase in the number of emergency food parcels distributed compared to last year.

There was a 40 % increase in the number of pensioners receiving parcels compared to 2022/23.

“We’re upset but not surprised to see yet another increase in the number of people using our food bank,” said Elizabeth Mayton MBE, project lead at The Norwood and Brixton Foodbank, part of the Lambeth Partnership of Foodbanks.

“Half of people who received parcels were single, highlighting the increasing number of people living on their own who cannot cope.

“Another worrying trend was the 40% increase in people over the age of 65 using our food bank.

“We’re really concerned for the elderly population in our boroughs who are vulnerable and clearly struggling.

“Over 27,000 people needed our help over the last year and we are unsure if we can keep up with this growing demand.

“We are pleased to have been able to offer a lifeline to so many people and are hugely thankful for donations from the local community.

“We ask for their continued support in this difficult climate.”

Former sales manager Emily is on a zero-hour contract which means work is not always regular. She is not comfortable using the food bank.

“I have used the food bank once or twice recently and it’s been a massive help,” she says. “Not only for food to feed my daughter, but also for the additional support and advice.

“I am now getting help with my debt and have been to a job club and feel I am in a lot better place. I am still struggling though as everything costs too much”.

Alongside the provision of emergency food, The Lambeth Partnership of Foodbanks offers people who are referred to them a warm welcome and connections to advice and support that makes it less likely someone will need the food bank again in the future.

Partnering with the Brixton Advice Centre, Centre 70, Age UK and Christians Against Poverty, among other organisations, means that immediate support is available to anyone who needs it in one of the seven hubs situated across Lambeth and Croydon. 

The Lambeth partnership said the support of the South London community is vital in ensuring that of food banks can be there for anyone who turns to them for help, but that rising levels of need have had a significant impact on stock levels.

A typical emergency food parcel consists of items like cereal, tinned fruit and vegetables, canned meat and fish, tea, coffee, biscuits, UHT milk, and pasta and rice and more.

However, the partnership is having to purchase more and more stock as donations are no longer meeting local need. Any donation is gratefully received and can be dropped off at the food bank and supermarket collection points.

The partnership is part of the Trussell Trust’s network, which today reports record levels of need in the last 12 months with more than 3.1 million emergency food parcels provided to people facing hardship between April 2023 and March 2024. More than 1.1 million of these parcels were provided for children.

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