A CHARITY provided a record number of emergency food parcels in Bradford last year, new figures show.

The Trussell Trust operates almost 1,700 distribution centres across the country, where those referred can receive nutritious emergency food.

Latest figures show 24,567 emergency food parcels were handed out to people in need across its seven locations in Bradford in the year to March - up from 24,259 the year before, and the highest since records began in 2017-18.

Of these parcels, 9,072 were delivered to support vulnerable children.

Across the UK, the number of emergency food parcels provided has nearly doubled in five years, topping 3.1 million in 2023-24.

An emergency parcel provides food for either three or seven days.

These figures cover food parcels handed out by the Trussell Trust, but other organisations are also providing support to those in need in the area.

Bradford Central Food Bank, which is based at the Jubilee Centre on Jermyn Street, is supported by the Trussell Trust.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Manager Josie Barlow (second from right) with volunteers at Bradford Central Food BankManager Josie Barlow (second from right) with volunteers at Bradford Central Food Bank (Image: Bradford Central Food Bank)

The food bank's manager, Josie Barlow, said it fed a total of 15,487 people in the last year - 600 more than the previous 12 months. 

Josie added: "Bradford has very high numbers of families on Universal Credit (UC). 

"Eighty-two per cent of working-age adults are in receipt of UC in Bradford West.

"UC doesn't give people enough money to live on which is why families in Bradford are particularly struggling to feed their families."

She said Bradford Central Food Bank doesn't just help to feed people - it also offers things like benefits advice, job coaching and some legal support.

Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, said "we must not let food banks become the new norm" and urged all politicians to tackle the problem.

She said: "It's 2024 and we're facing historically high levels of food bank need. 

"As a society, we cannot allow this to continue."

The Government said its cost-of-living support package had prevented 1.3 million people from falling into poverty in 2022-23.

It reiterated it had uprated benefits, raised the state pension and was "raising the National Living Wage, cutting taxes and driving down inflation while investing billions through our Back to Work Plan".

Labour said it was "committed" to tackling poverty and had a plan.

A spokesperson for the party said: "One in five people trapped in poverty is the devastating consequence of 14 years of Tory misery."