In light of the generous support we have been receiving recently, we would like to provide an update on how these donations are being used and what we are seeing on the ground.
As we had predicted, need for our services is higher than this time last year. (Around 30% higher at our foodbanks, we are now feeding up to 150 people each week.)
Our food pantries are busier than ever before, with more than 100 families shopping across the 5 locations weekly. With the average shop at our Pantries being worth at least £20, that represents £2000 worth of food (retail value) being distributed each week. We continue to receive referrals for our food pantries daily, and are having to explore ways to increase capacity so we do not have to close to new referrals.
We are also receiving a high volume of referrals into our Welfare Benefits and Debt Advice services, as more and more people are finding themselves unable to afford the essentials. With increased costs, it is more important than ever that people are maximising their incomes. However, sadly, in many cases this still isn’t enough. We are trying to do what we can to support people in this situation through our Winter Warmer packages. So far we have approved 38 applications for these packages, which include items such as slow cookers, electric blankets, thermos flasks and winter duvets to a total value of more than £2000. With thanks to funding from Trussell Trust we are also offering hot water bottles and fleece blankets to all foodbank clients.
Our 4 Warm Spaces are open to anyone and continue to attract increasing numbers of guests.
Unfortunately, we are not expecting things to improve any time soon. With the coldest months yet to come and additional support measures not due to come into force until April, many people in our area and all over the country are going to need all the help they can get. We urge anyone struggling to reach out to support agencies and see what is available to them.
If you are able to support us in any way, either with food or financial donations, by volunteering or helping us to push for change, please get in touch.