Growing numbers of people on low incomes in the North are turning to food banks to survive, new research reveals.
Figures released today by the Trussell Trust, which runs a network of 400 food banks across the UK, show that between April and September 2014, over 25,000 people were helped by the charity’s Gateshead, Newcastle East and Newcastle West End food banks alone.
That breaks down to 4,289 a month – more than treble the 1,316 people per month in Newcastle and Gateshead who accessed a food bank in the nine month period between April 2013 and December 2013.
Meanwhile a further 912 were catered for at Middlesbrough’s food bank during the six-month period.
But it is Newcastle West End food bank which is bearing the biggest strain with 3,640 people accessing it per month between April and September 2014, making it the most used food bank in the whole of the UK.
The Trust’s report found delays and changes to benefits continue to be the biggest overall trigger for food bank visits at 45%, while a growing reason is low income at 22%.
David McAuley, Trussell Trust chief executive, said:
“Whilst the rate of new food banks opening has slowed dramatically, we’re continuing to see a significant increase in numbers helped by food banks.
“Incomes for the poorest have not been increasing in line with inflation and many, whether in low paid work or on welfare, are not yet seeing the benefits of economic recovery. Instead, they are living on a financial knife edge where one small change in circumstances or a ‘life shock’ can force them into a crisis where they cannot afford to eat.”
Earlier this month, it was reported that Gateshead food bank found the organisation had seen a 27% year-on-year increase in people using the service since it opened in 2012, handing out 52 tonnes of food in that time.
Ian Britton, secretary of Beacon Lough Baptist Church which is part of Gateshead food bank, said:
“The figures are in line with our experiences on the ground. People are coming into food banks every week across the North East and numbers are steadily increasing.
“Demand is still unfortunately on the increase and our volunteers are seeing more people referred to us by professionals.
“We are grateful to everybody across Tyneside who donate to food banks because they allow us to provide for those most in need.”
Every time somebody visits a food bank they are given three days’ worth of food.
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 23 Nov 2014
Emergency food parcels are more in demand than ever before, according to the latest statistics.
Since opening nearly two years ago, a total of 52 tonnes of food has been handed out to folk in Gateshead in parcels.
More than 100 volunteers have worked around the clock to provide the front-line service to more than 5,000 people, 1,600 of who were children, since opening in 2012.
Statistics show an increase of 27% year-on-year, as 1904 people turned to the food bank this year as opposed to 1649 the previous year.
“The figures show a steady increase in demand and we are really grateful to the people of Gateshead for their donations and for the people in volunteering.
“We have been able to help 5,000 people in Gateshead who have been helped by the people of Gateshead. It’s very much a community thing. Churches and professionals are working to help people in their time of need.
“The majority of people only receive help from the food bank once and after that professional agencies are able to sort out their problems.”
Figures obtained by organisers show that more people living in Saltwell have used the food bank than anywhere else in the borough, when 408 adults and 153 children from the ward used the service over a two year period.
In Dunston and Teams a total of 541 people were handed food parcels in their time of need.
More than 1770 people used the food bank because of delays of their benefit, while 768 people said they used the service because of changes to their welfare.
Statistics also showed low income and debt were reasons for folk needing help.
Mr Britton added:
“The reality of what we are told by the professionals is that delays and changes to benefits is one of the main reasons for using the food bank.”
The food bank, run by volunteers from churches in Gateshead, works with care professionals, GPs and the Citizens Advice Bureau to distribute food to those families in need in the town. They provide three days of emergency food to people who find themselves in need.
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