There is an increasing reliance on food banks in Oldham and, on Saturday 2nd March I visited the Clegg Street Foodbank. So far this year, they have issued 564 vouchers to families in need, half the amount issued during 11 months during 2012.
The team there are doing great work for Oldhamers who are struggling through hard times. With 13 million people below the poverty line in the UK. I would ask everyone who can to keep donating non-perishable food, or their time to help, whenever they can as there is a shortage of at fruit juice, tinned rice pudding and 1lb bags of sugar at the moment.
Reliance on food support is rocketing across the UK. The number of people supported by food banks has grown from 2,800 in 2005-06 to over 128,000 in 2011-12, while Britain’s largest network of food banks, the Trussell Trust, predicts that they will need to support in excess of 260,000 people over the next year.
This week the Department for the Environment announced that it was going to examine why there has been a surge in the demand for food support.
People turn to food banks in times of desperation – usually because of an unexpected bill, or the miscalculation of welfare cuts, but more and more because of shrinking wages and rising living costs.
Further benefit cuts, due to impact from April 2013 on people both in and out of work, will force ever greater numbers to rely on emergency food support.
The influential Institute for Fiscal Studies predicts that as many as seven million working households will be hit by the uprating cap, by an average of £165 per year. These factors are set to significantly increase food and fuel poverty, leaving growing numbers of people reliant on food banks.
If you would like to make a donation to the foodbank at Clegg Street or if you would like to volunteer, please email Coordinator Andrew Barr on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0161 622 1061.