Referrals to Ely Foodbank up by almost 50 per cent in a year

PUBLISHED: 08:28 02 May 2014 | UPDATED: 08:28 02 May 2014

Archant

More than 35,000 meals were distributed by Ely Foodbank in 2013, up by almost 50 per cent on the previous year.

The increase was partly due to the foodbank’s expansion out to neighbouring towns, including Littleport and Chatteris, but officials say it was also due to increased numbers finding themselves in financial trouble.

In Ely alone, the foodbank says that demand has risen by more than 50 per cent since the foodbank was launched in 2012 and this year.

Officials say that changes and delays in benefit payments have been identified as the cause for almost half of people who have turned to the foodbank in the last year, while low income and debt are attributed to 30 per cent of new cases.

The foodbank is run using a voucher system which, officials say, means potential abuse is spotted and curtailed. Recent analysis confirmed that over the last six months, less than 10 people required closer scrutiny out of more than 1000 vouchers processed.

Reverend Karl Relton, chair of the foodbank trustees, said: “The general public have been marvellously generous ever since we started and as new towns have been added the local residents have there have also started to donate.

“Yet now demand exceeds supply at roughly the rate of one tonne of food per month, so fresh generosity is encouraged. In particular tinned meat, tinned vegetables and rice puddings are at the top of the wish-list. Anyone can donate simply by dropping a tin into the collection points at local supermarkets.”

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