New figures released by Widnes Foodbank today reveal 1,743 emergency food parcels were provided to local people who couldn’t afford the essentials between April 2021 and March 2022 – 1,308 children were fed by these food parcels.
This number of parcels is a 38% increase on 2020-21.
The food bank believes the increase in people needing support is due to people’s finances being hit by the increasing cost of living; social security payments not covering the cost of essentials and insecure or low-paid work.
The food bank is part of the Trussell Trust network, which has experienced its busiest winter outside of the height of the pandemic in 2020. Food banks in the Trussell Trust network provided more than 2.1 million parcels to people on the lowest incomes across the UK from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022. This is a 14% increase on pre-pandemic figures in 2019-20 as more and more people across the country are unable to afford the essentials we all need to eat, stay warm, dry and clean.
The need for food banks in the Trussell Trust network has accelerated throughout the past six months, and food bank managers are warning of a growing crisis following the cut to Universal Credit in October 2021, as the cost of living continues to soar:
Between July and September 2021 in comparison to the same period in 2019
Between October and December 2021 in comparison to the same period in 2019
Between January and February 2022 in comparison to the same period in 2020
Widnes Foodbank is clear that its team will always do all they can to help people in the community – but they cannot, and should not, be needing to distribute emergency food parcels on this scale. Vicky, Widnes Foodbank Project Co-ordinator explains,
“There’ll always be a role for strong community groups looking out for their neighbours, and we’re so grateful for the generous support of our volunteers and to local people who have donated to the food bank. Together, you’ve made sure that local people who can’t afford the essentials don’t face hunger.
“The support we see across the community for people on the lowest incomes is incredible. But it shouldn’t be needed. We should all be free from hunger. No one should be pushed deeper into poverty without enough money for the things we all need. It’s not right that anyone in Widnes needs our food bank in the first place – everyone should be able to afford the essentials.
“At the moment the situation is only set to get worse, as this is just the start of the cost of living crisis. But we know what’s pushing people to need food banks like ours, so we know what needs to be done. People cannot afford to wait any longer for support – UK, national and local governments at all levels must use their powers and take urgent action now to strengthen our social security system so it keeps up with the true cost of living.”
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