Over 4000 Helped By Wandsworth Foodbank

Latest statistics show UK-wide foodbank figures for 2015-16 remain at record levels

4078 three day emergency food supplies were provided to local people by Wandsworth foodbank in the 2015/16 financial year, compared to 3250 in 2014/15. Of this number, 1571 (39%) went to children. At the Wandsworth Foodbank, the top three reasons for foodbank referral were: benefit delay 22%; low income 21%; benefit change 14%.

Over the last year, local people have donated almost 32 tonnes of food to Wandsworth Foodbank, and over 230 volunteered. Local schools, businesses and faith groups have provided vital support to the foodbank, enabling us to give three days’ nutritionally balanced food and support to people in crisis.

As well as providing emergency food, Wandsworth Foodbank provides essentials like washing powder, nappies and hygiene products to families who are struggling, and signposting them to other services in the local area. Wandsworth Foodbank is partnering with Wandsworth Citizens Advice to provide additional services such as welfare advice, budgeting help and debt support at the foodbank itself, via our dedicated Citizens Advice Foodbank adviser (generously funded by City Bridge Trust), helping people to break out of crisis. Foodbank guests with children under 18 can also be referred for an emergency grant for gas and electricity from our partner fuelbanks & families.

Dan Chapman, Wandsworth Foodbank Manager, says:
“We are still seeing an increase in the number of three day emergency food supplies provided to local people in crisis – 25% in the last year. It is all too easy when you look at figures to forget the real people behind the statistics. Earlier this week we met a gentleman in his 50s, on Employment Support Allowance because of arthritis in his hips and depression, who had just walked nearly four miles to get to the Putney foodbank centre. He had no money for the bus and no food in his cupboards, after he had had to pay his rent and service charge on his new temporary bedsit upfront (having previously been homeless). Although one of our centres is nearer his home, it wasn’t open until two days later and on balance Peter decided his need for food was greater than his discomfort walking: “I had nothing, I had to put some food in my stomach because of the medication I take, so I had to make the effort,” he said. That’s why the foodbank is so vital. We are very grateful for the ongoing support of the community, and hope that one day there will be no need for us in Wandsworth. But until that day comes, we will continue to offer the best possible service to help local people facing a crisis.”

The running costs for the foodbank are around £45,000 a year, all of which is raised locally to enable them to continue their work. Costs include the salary of one full-time and two part-time staff to manage the Borough-wide foodbank, liaising with 200 local agencies who are voucher partners and ensuring the project delivers the best quality service to people across our five centres; transport costs to pick up donated food and deliver to our five distribution centres, and other overheads like utilities, warehousing equipment and insurances. The foodbank welcomes any new offers of help with funding – local businesses, organisations and individuals interested in supporting the foodbank’s work can find out more at www.wandsworth.foodbank.org.uk/donate

For the first time, The Trussell Trust has worked with data scientists, business model specialists and academics to create the UK’s first ever dynamic visualisation tool for crises leading to foodbank use, and to compare foodbank data with deprivation indices from the 2011 census and other open data. Early findings suggest foodbank use is highest in areas where there are more people who are: unable to work due to long term sickness or disability; in skilled work; or deprived.

David McAuley, Chief Executive of The Trussell Trust says:
“Today’s figures on national foodbank use prove that the numbers of people hitting a crisis where they cannot afford food are still far too high. One million three day food supplies given out by our foodbanks every year is one million too many. This many people needing emergency food must not become the new normal. I’m calling on Government, the voluntary sector, businesses and communities to work together to tackle hunger and poverty in the UK. This has to be a society-wide effort.

“Our foodbank network is already playing its part: many foodbanks offer additional services to help people break out of crisis, and if the promising new data science techniques shown in the University of Hull report are developed, we could use them to help tell foodbanks where to target resources and which groups in society are most at risk from hunger.”


April 15, 2016