More working families forced to rely on Ely foodbank as price rises put strain on pay

Ely Foodbank has seen an increase in the number of people who are in full-time employment coming to them for help Ely Foodbank has seen an increase in the number of people who are in full-time employment coming to them for help

Friday, July 4, 2014
9:43 AM

More and more families who are in full-time employment but still cannot afford to make ends meet are coming to Ely Foodbank for help, officials have said.

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Since it was launched in 2012 the foodbank has expanded rapidly into Littleport, Soham, March and Chatteris, and volunteers are handing out more than 3,500 meals a month – double what they were two years ago.

And it’s not only the volume of food that is being handed out that has changed, officials say that the type of people who are coming to the them for help has also shifted over time.

Rev Karl Relton, of the Countess Free Church, in Ely, said that, when the foodbank was launched, the majority of users were those who had lost their jobs or homes.

But, in recent months, Rev Relton says that volunteers at the foodbanks have seen an increase in the number of people in work who are struggling because rising food and energy costs mean their wages do not stretch far enough.

He said: “There are more people coming to us now who are working but still cannot afford to put enough food on the table.

“That is one of the biggest changes we have seen since we started and it is something that has been highlighted by Oxfam in a report it carried out into foodbanks and poverty in the UK.”

Rev Relton said he had been “surprised” by the growth of the foodbank in Ely and said that he expected it to be around in the long-term, despite the upturn in the country’s economy.

In the report compiled by Oxfam, it calculates that 20,247,042 meals were given to people in food poverty in 2013/14 by food aid providers like Ely Foodbank, a 54 percent increase on 2012/13.

Oxfam adds that UK food prices have increased by 43.5 per cent in the eight years to July 2013 and food expenditure as a proportion of total household

expenditure has continued to rise.

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