Norwich foodbank feeds over 9000 people in last year
New figures show that Norwich foodbank has supplied enough emergency food boxes to feed over 9,000 local people for three days each in the last year, an increase on the previous 12 months.
Of the 9,020 people who were fed, 3,004 were children. Some individuals and families, based on their circumstances and the help they are receiving, may have been referred to the foodbank service more than once during the year (meaning the total number of unique individuals fed is lower than 9,000). This compares to 8,730 people fed in 2015-16.
The figures, published by the Trussell Trust foodbank network show UK-wide foodbank figures are still not decreasing.
In Norwich, the top three reasons for foodbank referral were: benefit delay 28%, benefit change 14% and low income 21%.
Over the last year, local people have donated over 110 tonnes of food to Norwich foodbank, and over 180 people volunteered with local schools, businesses and faith groups providing vital support to the foodbank.
Hannah Worsley, Project Manager of Norwich foodbank said: “It is deeply concerning that we are still seeing an increase in the number of three-day emergency food supplies provided to local people in crisis in Norwich over the last year.
“Anybody could find themselves in need of the foodbank. Every week people are referred to us after being hit by something unavoidable – such as illness, a delay in a benefit payment or wages or an unexpected bill – all this means food is simply unaffordable.
“It really is only with the community’s support that we’re able to provide vital emergency help when it matters most, and we hope that one day there will be no need for us in Norwich. But until that day comes, we will continue to offer the best possible service to help local people facing a crisis. Thank you so much to everyone in Norwich who already donates time, food and money to help local people. If you’re not already involved, we’d love to hear from you!”
Norwich foodbank also shares the concerns of other Trussell Trust foodbanks in Universal Credit rollout areas about the adverse side effects the new system can have on people.
Hannah said: “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. Norwich foodbank is working hard to stop local people affected going hungry but is troubled by the extra pressure this puts on food donation stocks and volunteers’ time and emotional welfare.”
As well as providing emergency food, Norwich foodbank provides essentials like washing powder, nappies and sanitary products to families who are struggling, as well as signposting them to other services in the local area.
Three of Norwich foodbank’s ten distribution centres also offer a free hot meal to those accessing the foodbank service, at time of collection. Many Trussell Trust foodbanks, including Norwich foodbank, are partnering with other agencies to provide additional services such as welfare advice, budgeting help and debt support at the foodbank itself, helping people to break out of.
Despite generous donations of food, there are many hidden costs to run the foodbank. Costs include warehouse space to sort and store donated food, mileage expenses for volunteer drivers 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 www.norwichfoodbank.co.uk