Record numbers of people in “dire circumstances” have been receiving emergency supplies from the city’s central foodbank in the last year.
Figures released by the Trussell Trust today show a 260 per cent hike in the number of people receiving three days’ emergency food supply from its foodbanks in Yorkshire and Humberside and a 116 per cent increase in Bradford.
Bradford Central Foodbank, based at the Jubilee Centre in Jermyn Street, Bradford, is now feeding more than double the number of people for the second year in a row.
In 2013-14, 5,224 people were supported by the foodbank, up from 2,413 in 2012-13 and 1,136 in 2011-12. Of those 5,224 people helped in Bradford in the last financial year, 1,663 were children.
The city’s Trussell Trust Foodbank is run by The Light Church and provides clients – who are referred by a professional such as a social work or schools liaison officer – enough food to last three days.
It is giving out more than 1,000 meals every week. Today’s figures also show 53 per cent of referrals in Bradford last year were directly related to benefit changes or delays, up from 40 per cent the year before and 26 per cent in 2011-12. Bradford foodbank is part of the Trussell Trust’s network of 400 foodbanks which have fed more than 900,000 people in the last 12 months.
Today church leaders across the country will deliver a letter to all three major party leaders calling for urgent action. Ben Haldane, project manager at Bradford Central Foodbank, said: “We are fully behind this letter to the party leaders. We are seeing more and more people coming to us in dire circumstances and often this is due to problems with benefits. We wish we didn’t have to exist but we are finding that for many we are the only place to fall back on. I am very grateful for the support that the people of Bradford continue to give us but hope that as time goes on we will not be needed as much as we are now.”
Regionally, 37,403 people received emergency supplies from Trussell Trust foodbanks in 2013-14 – compared to 10,380 the previous year.
The charity blames static incomes, rising living costs, low pay, underemployment and problems with welfare.
Its chairman Chris Mould said: “That 37,403 people in Yorkshire and Humberside have received three days’ food from a foodbank, over triple the numbers helped last year, is shocking in 21st century Britain.
“But perhaps most worrying of all this figure is just the tip of the iceberg of UK food poverty, it doesn’t include those helped by other emergency food providers, those living in towns where there is no foodbank, people who are too ashamed to seek help or the large number of people who are only just coping by eating less and buying cheap food.”