As Wisbech foodbank figures are released, the charity that runs them claims ‘life has got worse not better for the poorest’

PUBLISHED: 11:38 17 April 2014 | UPDATED: 11:38 17 April 2014

The Bishop of Ely visits Wisbech foodbank. He met one of the organisers Margaret Poole.  Picture: ROB MORRIS

The Bishop of Ely visits Wisbech foodbank. He met one of the organisers Margaret Poole. Picture: ROB MORRIS

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New figures show 1,420 people were helped by Wisbech Foodbank in the past nine months - with the charity claiming “life has got worse not better for the poorest”.

The day recently when Ely Foodbank had a record three tonnes of donations inside two weeks and staff are in the process of trying to sort and organise the food before it opens. Left: Volunteers Patricia Ferraby and Janet Hill.The day recently when Ely Foodbank had a record three tonnes of donations inside two weeks and staff are in the process of trying to sort and organise the food before it opens. Left: Volunteers Patricia Ferraby and Janet Hill.

Trussell Trust who run foodbanks nationally say over 900,000 received three days’ emergency food compared to 346,992 in 2012-13.

Wisbech foodbank is part of The Trussell Trust’s network of over 400 foodbanks across the UK.

Trust chairman Chris Mould said the figures are the “tip of the iceberg” of UK food poverty.

He said despite signs of economic recovery “the poorest have seen incomes squeezed even more than last year. More people are being referred to foodbanks than ever before.”

March Foodbank opening at the Power House Church.March Foodbank opening at the Power House Church.

The trust blames static incomes, rising living costs, low pay, underemployment and problems with welfare are significant drivers of the increased demand.

Many of the foodbanks surveyed by The Trussell Trust say that half of referrals to foodbanks in 2013-14 were a result of benefit delays or changes.

A spokesman for Wisbech foodbank said: “We’re seeing growing numbers turning to our foodbank for help, which shouldn’t be happening in the seventh richest country in the world.

“But the reality is that life is very difficult for people on low incomes at the moment, and increasing numbers are struggling to make ends meet and are hitting a crisis where they cannot afford food. “

The spokesman added: “We don’t think anyone should have to go hungry, which is why we’re so grateful for the incredible generosity of local people in donating food, funds and time to stop local hunger.’

Last year local people donated 12,472 tonnes of food to Wisbech foodbank, and over 30 volunteered.

The spokesman said schools, businesses and faith groups have provided support; of the 1420 people given three days’ emergency food, 925 were adults and 495 were children.

Wisbech foodbank also provides essentials like washing powder, nappies and hygiene products to families “who are at breaking point, as well as signposting them to other services in the local area”.

* In the Eastern region in 2013/14, 59,827 adults and 31,593 children received three days’ food.

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