FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 7TH November 2017
New figures show 2122 emergency food supplies given to local people by Wandsworth Foodbank in six months
Between 1st April and 30th September 2017, 2122 three-day emergency food supplies were provided to local people in crisis by Wandsworth Foodbank, compared to 2111 in the same period in the previous year. Of this number, 687 went to children. The foodbank, a member of The Trussell Trust’s network which has today reported an increase in UK foodbank use, believes the local increase, albeit thankfully small, is due to people continuing to struggle with issues around benefit payments; unmanageable debt; low pay and insecure work; and the impact of Universal Credit which already affects single people with no child dependents in the Borough (before full roll-out in the borough in 2018).
In the months leading to Christmas a number of factors, such as cold weather and high energy bills, mean The Trussell Trust’s foodbank network traditionally sees a spike in foodbank use. Wandsworth Foodbank is asking the community to help them prepare for their busiest time of year by donating money towards essential running costs.
Wandsworth Foodbank is concerned about the future rollout of full Universal Credit in the local area – planned for May 2018 – following evidence from other foodbanks in The Trussell Trust’s network about the issues people referred to them have experienced with the new system. The 6+ week waiting period for a first payment can contribute to debt, mental health issues and rent arrears. The effects of these can last even after people receive their Universal Credit payments, as bills and debts pile up. Wandsworth Foodbank is preparing to help prevent local people affected going hungry but is troubled by the extra pressure this puts on food donation stocks and volunteers’ capacity – and of course most importantly by the hardship current UC policy can create.
Dan Frith, Foodbank Manager of Wandsworth Foodbank said:
“We welcome the fact that we haven’t seen a greater increase in need for the foodbank compared to this time last year. But 2122 three-day food supplies provided to people in crisis is still 2122 too many, and more needs to be done so we can begin to see the need for the foodbank decline.
“Every day 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 hope 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. Thank you so much to everyone who already donates time, food and money to help local people. If you’re not already involved, we’d love to hear from you!”
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 now. People cannot be left for weeks without any income, and when that income does come, it must keep pace with living costs – foodbanks cannot be relied upon to pick up the pieces. Without urgent action from policy-makers and even more generous practical support from the public, we don’t know how foodbanks are going to stop families and children going hungry this Christmas.”
The running costs for the foodbank are around £68,000 a year, all of which is raised locally to enable us to continue their work. Costs include 2.5 staff who manage nearly 300 volunteers, sorting and storing donated food, a van to pick up donated food and deliver to distribution centres, and other overheads like utilities and insurances. The foodbank welcomes any new offers of help with funding – local businesses, organisations and individuals interested in supporting the foodbank’s work can find out more at or by contacting Foodbank Manager Dan on 020 7326 9428.
Dan Frith (Foodbank Manager) can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7326 9428
Notes to Editor
- Wandsworth Foodbank has been providing three days emergency food and support to local people since 2013.
- Between April and September 2017, 2122 three day emergency food supplies were provided to people in Wandsworth Borough by the foodbank’s five centres. Of this number, 687 went to children. For UK-wide Trussell Trust foodbank statistics visit https://www.trusselltrust.org/news-and-blog/latest-stats/ .
- 5 tonnes of food were donated by the local community in April to September 2017.
- Wandsworth Foodbank is part of The Trussell Trust network. Trussell Trust foodbanks provide three days’ nutritionally balanced food and support to people in crisis in the UK, and signpost people to other agencies and services able to help resolve the underlying cause of the crisis.
- The Trussell Trust is a charity motivated by Christian principles that runs the biggest network of foodbanks in the UK. For more on The Trussell Trust visit www.trusselltrust.org