Between 1st April 2017 and 31st March 2018, 1,197 three day emergency food supplies were provided to local people in crisis by Epping Foodbank Foodbank, compared to 640 in the previous year. Of this number, 591 went to children.
The foodbank, a member of The Trussell Trust’s network which has today reported a UK-wide increase foodbank use, believes the local increase is due to people struggling on low incomes, continued issues with benefit payments and issues with Universal Credit.
Epping Forest Foodbank shares the concerns of other foodbanks in full Universal Credit rollout areas, highlighted today by The Trussell Trust in a new report about the difficulties some people are experiencing. The foodbank has provided emergency food and support to people needing help due to the adverse impact of the initial wait and the inability of Universal Credit payments to cover the cost of living.
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 simultaneously participating in vital research and raising awareness about the issues local people are facing.
Heather Scholer Foodbank Manager of Epping Forest Foodbank said:
“We don’t want to be here forever. No one in Epping Forest should need a foodbank’s help and we want to see an end to local people needing emergency food at all. 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’ll continue to provide vital support when it matters most – we’re 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 local people in donating food, time and funds. Thank you.”
The running costs for the foodbank are now around £36k a year, all of which is raised locally to enable them to continue their work. Costs include warehouse and office space, to sort and stock donated food, travel costs to pick up donated food and deliver to distribution centres, and other overheads like utilities and insurances. The foodbank welcomes any new offers of help with funding – local businesses, organisations and individuals interested in supporting the foodbank’s work can find out more at eppingforest.foodbank.org.uk