Waveney Foodbank sees 90 per cent increase of emergency meals issued to local people in six month period

Volunteers at the Waveney Foodbank, pictured last year.
Volunteers at the Waveney Foodbank, pictured last year.

Figures have revealed 17,500 emergency meals were given to local people by the Waveney Foodbank in the past six months – with 7,000 of those going to children.

Waveney Foodbank, which operates from the Brome Industrial Estate and a member of the Trussell Trust’s network, said 1,170 emergency food boxes containing a minimum of three days food were given to local people in crisis between April 1 and September 30 this year – an increase of 90 percent on the same period last year.

Whilst we pray to God, that one day there’ll be no need for our work, until that day comes we’ll be working hard to help prevent people going hungry

Matthew Scade, manager, Waveney Foodbank

And they believe the increased demand is due to people struggling with continued issues with benefits payments, the roll out of Universal Credit, low wages, insecure work, and the closure of local charities offering crisis support.

It is asking for further support from the community as Christmas approaches, when foodbank use often spikes.

Matthew Scade, manager of the Waveney Foodbank, said it was “really worrying”there had been a big increase in need for food.

“In the last few weeks we have also opened another four distribution centres to meet demand.

“Every week people are referred to us after something unavoidable – like illness, a delayed benefit payment or an unexpected bill – 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, and whilst we pray to God, that one day there’ll be no need for our work, until that day comes we’ll be working hard to help prevent people going hungry.”

A DWP spokesperson said: “The reasons for food bank use are wide and complex, and for this report to link it to any one issue would be misleading.

“We’re clear that advance payments are widely available from the start of anyone’s UC claim, and urgent cases are fast-tracked so no one should be without funds. We know the majority of UC claimants are confident in managing their money. Budgeting support and direct rent payments to landlords are also available to those who need them.”

The running costs for the foodbank are about £7,000 a year, covering warehouse space to sort and stock food, a van to pick up donated food and deliver to distribution centres, and other overheads. They welcome any help with funding – businesses, organisations and individuals who may be able to help should visit waveney.foodbank.org.uk