Rugby Foodbank blames Universal Credit, low wages and debt for a 25 per cent increase in demand for emergency food parcels distributed since last year.
Between April 1 and September 30 2017, 2,004 three-day emergency food supplies were provided to local people in crisis by Rugby Foodbank, compared to 1,601 in the same period of 2016 - with 734 of this year’s number going to children.
Rugby Foodbank’s 25 per cent increase is almost double The Trussell Trust’s overall UK foodbank use increase of 13 per cent.
Diana Mansell, Rugby Foodbank project manager and director said: “It’s really worrying that we are still seeing an increase in need for emergency food across Rugby.
“Every week people are referred to us after something unavoidable – like illness, a delayed benefit payment including the crippling Universal Credit delays, or even an unexpected bill – all these 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. Whilst we hope one day there will be no need for our work, until that comes we’ll be working hard to help prevent people going hungry.”
The Trussell Trust said foodbanks in areas of full Universal Credit rollout for six months or more have seen a 30 per cent average increase six months after rollout compared to a year before.
Universal Credit was piloted in Rugby in 2013.
The foodbank is part of the Trussell Trust’s national network of foodbanks.
It is preparing for an expected Christmas spike in users, which it attributes to cold weather and high energy bills and foodbanks and referral agencies attempting to stop people going hungry over the holidays.
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.”
Rugby foodbank is appealing for urgent help. See: goo.gl/D1NW1x