figures show 1,648 emergency food supplies given to local people by Euston Foodbank in six months
Between 1st April and 30th September 2017, 1,648 three day emergency food supplies were provided to local people in crisis by Euston Foodbank. Of this number, 365 went to children. The foodbank, a member of The Trussell Trust’s network which has reported an increase in UK foodbank use, believes the local increase is due to people struggling with continued issues with benefit payments; increased Universal Credit implementation in the area and full roll out in neighbouring areas; low wages; insecure work; no school meals during holidays and homelessness.
In the months leading to Christmas a number of factors, such as cold weather and high energy bills, and foodbanks and referral agencies ensuring that people who are likely to hit crisis have food ahead of Christmas Day, mean The Trussell Trust’s foodbank network traditionally sees a spike in foodbank use.
Euston Foodbank is asking the community to help them prepare for their busiest time of year by continuing to donate urgently needed food items – we are very grateful for the Harvest collections and the many workplaces planning reverse advent collections to bring in good time before Christmas.
Euston Foodbank shares the concerns of other Trussell Trust foodbanks already in full Universal Credit rollout areas about the issues people referred to the charity have experienced with the new system. Full roll out is expected in Camden by May 2018. The 6+ week waiting period for a first payment can contribute to debt, mental health issues and rent arrears. The effects of these can last even after people receive their Universal Credit payments, as bills and debts pile up.
Euston Foodbank is working hard to help prevent local people affected going hungry but is troubled by the extra pressure this puts on food donation stocks and volunteers’ capacity.
Dorothea Hackman, Foodbank Manager of Euston Foodbank said:
“It’s really worrying that we are still seeing an increase in need for emergency food across south Camden. Every week people are referred to us after something unavoidable – like illness, a delayed benefit payment or an unexpected bill – means there’s no money for food. It’s only with local people’s help that we’re able to provide vital support when it matters most, and whilst we hope one day there’ll be no need for our work, until that day comes we’ll be working hard to help prevent people going hungry. Thank you so much to everyone who already donates time, food and money to help local people. If you’re not already involved, we’d love to hear from you!͟
Mark Ward, Interim Chief Executive at The Trussell Trust, said:
We’re seeing soaring demand at foodbanks across the UK. Our network is working hard to stop people going hungry but the simple truth is that even with the enormous generosity of our donors and volunteers, we’re concerned foodbanks could struggle to meet demand this winter if critical changes to benefit delivery aren’t made now. People cannot be left for weeks without any income, and when that income does come, it must keep pace with living costs – foodbanks cannot be relied upon to pick up the pieces. Without urgent action from policy-makers and even more generous practical support from the public, we don’t know how foodbanks are going to stop families and children going hungry this Christmas.
The running costs for Euston foodbank are around £20,000 a year, all of which is raised locally to enable them to continue their work. Costs include warehouse space, to sort and stock donated food, a van 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