‘New stats show half of children helped by foodbanks over summer holiday months are primary school students

2nd September 2017

New data published by anti-poverty charity The Trussell Trust reveals that last summer 47% of children who received support from foodbanks in its network were 5-11 years old. The figures also show that 4,412 more three day emergency food supplies were given to children in July and August 2016 than in the previous two months. Epping Forest Foodbank led a local holiday club to respond to urgent local need.

67,506 three day emergency food supplies were provided for children by The Trussell Trust’s foodbank network in July and August 2016 compared to 63,094 in May and June 2016. Between July and August 2016, of all 67, 506 three day emergency food supplies from The Trussell Trust foodbank network that went to children:

  • 27% went to 0-4 year olds
  • 47% went to 5-11 year olds
  • 21% went to 12-16 year olds
  • 5% went to children for whom their age was not known

Reacting to the statistics, Epping Forest Foodbank collaborated with True Stars Child and Family Wellbeing Service and Epping Forest District Council Community Health &  Wellbeing to provide 12 families with free activities and lunch over 5 sessions this Summer.

Heather Scholer, Epping Forest Foodbank Leader says:

“Lots of people are just getting by day-to-day but find their income simply won’t stretch to meet the extra pressure of missing free school meals or paying for extra childcare during the holidays. This summer we were involved in running the F.I.S.H. club to provide fun activities and a hot meal to local families finding the school holidays hard. The free club offers children and parents a chance to relax, have some fun and make new friends – it’s all about helping each other and recognizing that nobody in our community should feel alone.

“We can only continue to provide this crucial support with the community’s help; we rely on local donations to run the holiday club and the foodbank. Emergency food, a cup of tea and a listening ear at the foodbank, or a hot meal and fun activities at the holiday club, all have such an impact, so any donations will make a real difference.”

The new age insights from The Trussell Trust’s data collection system also reveal the percentage of primary school children helped by foodbanks is consistently high all-year round (46% of all children referred between April 2016 and March 2017 were between 5-11), highlighting the need for support throughout the year, not only in the holidays. Foodbanks will continue to work all-year round to establish strong working relationships with local agencies to ensure families in need can be referred to the foodbank for emergency food and support.

Samantha Stapley, Operations Manager for England at The Trussell Trust, said:

“Over a third of all the food distributed by foodbanks in our network consistently goes to children, but these new figures show 5 to 11 year-olds are more likely than other children to receive a foodbank’s help. This highlights just how close to crisis many families are living. We can all make a difference – checking which food your local foodbank is running low on and donating to make sure emergency food is available when people are referred to help is a simple and effective way to get involved. You could be helping a family that lives on your street.”

The Rt. Rev the Lord Bishop of Truro Tim Thornton, said:

 “It is shocking to read the statistics and the breakdown provided by The Trussell Trust.  That so many primary age children are going without food in our country is of great concern.  It is good that so many voluntary organisations, the vast majority of which are based on churches are working to provide help for families during the summer holidays.  It is very good that the community wants to help and work with those less fortunate and that is a key part of the gospel values.  It is however also important that we keep trying to understand the deeper reasons why this situation is as it is.”

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