Ely Foodbank sees a 30 per cent rise in demand

Ely Foodbank volunteer Alison Bowles sorting out the dry package store.

Ely Foodbank volunteer Alison Bowles sorting out the dry package store. - Credit: Archant

DELAYS in the paying of benefits have contributed to a 30 per cent rise in demand for help from Ely Foodbank in the last six months, it was revealed this week.

Chairman of the foodbank trustees, Karl Relton, told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire: “It’s benefit delays and benefit problems that are the biggest cause of people needing to come to us. And now with the trimming of benefits, we are seeing the results of that squeeze on people.”

Listeners were told that demand for food parcels from the Ely Foodbank had risen by 15 per cent in the last three months, with a further 15 per cent rise in the previous three months.

Steve Bolton, the regional development officer for the Trussell Trust, which runs foodbanks across the county, said the demand for free food boxes had increased since the beginning of the school holidays, and he expected the demand would continue to rise through the winter, as families face increased fuel bills.

“The situaton is likely to get worse before it gets better,” he said.

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Joining in the debate, Helen Crowther from Cambridge Citizen’s Advice Bureau said her organisation had referred 200 people to foobanks this year.

She said the welfare state should be the safety net for people, and added: “We are finding that a lot of people who need food vouchers need them because of operational failures in the welfare system.

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Predicting a further rise in the need for food parcels, she said: “We could actually see a real rise in people needing food vouchers, especially because if there are delays in benefit, then its the whole benefit that is delayed, rather than just JobSeekers or Employment Support Allowance for instance.”

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