Between 1st April 2017 and 31st March 2018, 1,494 three-day emergency food supplies were provided to local people in crisis by Widnes Foodbank, compared to 1,147 in the previous year – an increase of 30.25%.
The foodbank, a member of The Trussell Trust’s network which has today reported a UK-wide increase in foodbank use, believes the local increase is due to people struggling with continued issues with benefit payments; issues with Universal Credit in the area; and insecure, low-paid work.
Widnes 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, the lack of available statutory support, 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.
Gareth Watson, Communications Co-ordinator of Widnes Foodbank said:
“We don’t want to be here forever. No one in Widnes should need a foodbank’s help and we long for the day when nobody needs to turn to emergency food. 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.”