‘Lifeline’ food banks helping desperate families stop hunger

Gareth Batty - Fareshare Yorkshire Chief Executive and 'Clare Findlay - Store Manager
Gareth Batty - Fareshare Yorkshire Chief Executive and 'Clare Findlay - Store Manager

Desperate families are turning to local food banks in “very significant” numbers to relieve their hunger.

National emergency food provider the Trussell Trust revealed in new figures that a record high 1,109,309 people have depended on its three-day supplies in the last financial year.

Figures were unavailable for the food bank in Wyke, because it was set up in June before the start of the financial year – but joint project manager Bob Moon described the numbers as “very, very significant.”

In line with the national trend, the main reasons that people have turned to the Blackstone Avenue service for help is a lack of funds due to benefit sanctions or delays and low pay.

Between June and March, 511 people have used the Wyke food bank – 281 adults and 230 children have been given meals.

Mr Moon said that 82 per cent of the people who had visited the service had done so because of benefit changes and delays or low income.

He added: “There are many that come here and say this is a lifeline to them.

“For some people it’s just a bridge between getting their delayed benefits.

“The stats stand out for themselves. It’s very, very clear.”

The number of people using the service also spikes when children are on school holidays, he said.

Food bank use in Yorkshire has more than doubled in the last three years.More than 65,000 meal packages were handed out at the Trussell Trust’s 25 food banks in Yorkshire over the last financial year – eight per more than in 2014/15 and more than double that of 2013/14, when 32,607 emergency supplies were given to people in crisis by the charity in Yorkshire.

Tesco in Cleckheaton has now opened a new permanent collection point to help provide emergency food and support to local people in crisis. Shoppers can buy and donate products at the checkout. Staff have worked with s surplus food charity Fareshare.

Across Yorkshire, 40,000 volunteers helped at food banks last year, and the public donated 551 tonnes of food.

To learn more about Wyke food bank, visit wyke.foodbank.org.uk/get-involved