More than 5,300 emergency food supplies provided to people from Ely, Cottenham, Soham, Haddenham, Chatteris, Sutton and March in crisis during 2016-17

PUBLISHED: 16:07 25 April 2017 | UPDATED: 16:07 25 April 2017

Over 5,358 three-day emergency food supplies were provided to people from Ely, Cottenham, Soham, Haddenham, Chatteris, Sutton and March in crisis during 2016-17.

Over 5,358 three-day emergency food supplies were provided to people from Ely, Cottenham, Soham, Haddenham, Chatteris, Sutton and March in crisis during 2016-17.

Archant

Over 5,358 three-day emergency food supplies were provided to people from Ely, Cottenham, Soham, Haddenham, Chatteris, Sutton and March in crisis during 2016-17.

According to new figures from The Trussell Trust, which runs Ely Foodbank, it is a decrease of 142 supplies compared to 2015-16. However the number of supplies given to children from 2016-17 was 1,873.

The trust states the top three reasons for foodbank referral as being benefit delays, benefit changes and low income.

A spokesman said: “Over the last year, local people and businesses have donated 47 tonnes of food to Ely Foodbank Partnership, and many people have volunteered to collect food, manage stock and distribute to people in need.

“Local schools, businesses and faith groups have provided vital support to the foodbank, enabling us to give three days’ nutritionally balanced food and support to people in crisis.

“Ely Foodbank 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.

“The six-plus-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.

“Ely 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.”

Ely Foodbank Partnership has been providing three days emergency food and support to local people since 2011.

As well as providing emergency food, Ely Foodbank provides essentials like washing powder, nappies and sanitary products when available to families who are struggling, as well as signposting them to other services in the local area.

Many Trussell Trust foodbanks, including Ely Foodbank, are partnering with other agencies to provide additional services such as welfare advice, budgeting help and debt support at the foodbank itself.

Cathy Wright, director of Ely Foodbank Partnership, said: “Whilst we are seeing relative stability in the number of emergency food supplies we provide, we are concerned that some agencies and charities who would normally refer people to us have been unable to do so because funding reductions have caused their services to be squeezed or closed.

“We are looking into this further, and are dedicated to ensuring that anyone in the community who hits a crisis is able to access our support.

“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 an unexpected bill – 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.”

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