2,196 emergency food packs supplied to feed 4,168 local people in last year, West Lothian Foodbank reveals
Between 1st April 2017 and 31st March 2018, 2,196 three-day emergency food packs were provided to feed 4,168 local people in crisis – a total of 2,776 adults and 1,392 children – compared to 4,021 people in the previous year.
The foodbank, a member of The Trussell Trust’s network, which reported a UK-wide increase foodbank use last week, believes the local increase is due to people struggling with continued issues with benefit payments, insecure work and low income. As part of a national network campaigning for change, the foodbank is working hard to offer practical emergency support to help prevent people affected going hungry, whilst informing vital research to help spread awareness about the issues local people are facing.
Figures revealed by the Trussell Trust also looked at the issues that lead families and individuals to seek help. The Trust’s report found that nationally 70% of respondents found themselves in debt, 57% experienced issues with their mental or physical health and 56% experienced housing issues. The report has led to calls for an urgent review of Universal Credit and from some politicians to halt its roll-out in their constituencies.
West Lothian Foodbank Manager, Kathleen Neilly, said:
“We don’t want to be here forever. No one in West Lothian should need to use a foodbank and we want to see an end to local people requiring emergency food. It doesn’t have to be this way – with a benefits system that catches people before they fall into crisis, and secure work that provides people with enough money to cover the cost of essentials, this is possible. But until that time, we will continue to provide vital support when it matters most. We are dedicated to ensuring that people in our community with no money for food are able to access emergency support, and that has only been possible in the last year because of the incredible generosity shown by the local community in donating food, time and funds. Thank you for all that you do.”
The running costs for the foodbank totals around £55,000 a year. This includes: a van to collect and deliver food to distribution centres, and other necessary overheads including utilities and insurances. The foodbank would welcome any new offers of help with funding and local businesses, organisations and individuals interested in supporting the foodbank’s work can find out more here.
For further information, please contact: Kathleen Neilly, Foodbank Manager at Kathleen@westlothian.foodbank.org.uk or on 01501 229307.