- New figures from the Trussell Trust reveal that the charity’s Welsh network of food banks distributed a record number of emergency food parcels between April and September this year – more than ever before for this six-month period.
- A record 32,150 emergency food parcels were provided to support more than 19,600 children across Wales.
- The charity is urging the Government to use the upcoming Autumn Statement to do more to protect households on the lowest incomes and for the Welsh Government to develop a national plan to reduce and prevent the need for emergency food aid.
New figures released today by the Trussell Trust reveal that 88,518 emergency food parcels were provided to people between April and September by food banks in the charity’s network in Wales. This is the most parcels that the network has ever distributed at this point in the year and represents a 15% increase from the same period in 2022.
Low income, especially from social security, debt, health conditions and issues with social security payments such as delays or sanctions, was the main reason people were left with no option but to turn to a food bank for help.
A record 32,150 food parcels were provided for 19,600 children living in families who could not afford the essentials. This is a 14% increase compared to the same period last year, reflecting the continuing rise in need for the support provided by food banks.
Furthermore, the charity has reported that an alarming 23,600 people have needed to use a food bank for the first time in the past six months in Wales, warning that food banks are at ‘breaking point’ as more and more people in communities across Wales find themselves unable afford the essentials.
The Trussell Trust believes that the situation is unlikely to change in the coming months with this stark new data leading them to forecast that food banks in their network will distribute more than a million emergency food parcels between December 2023 and February 2024 the equivalent of providing a parcel every eight seconds this winter.
Trey McCain, Manager at Arfon Foodbank said: “At Arfon Foodbank we’ve seen more and more people coming to us from all walks of life. We’re preparing for what we expect will be a very busy winter, and we’re grateful for everyone who’s giving to support our work. But each week we’re putting together parcels to support up to 120 people, and we’re constantlyout purchasing food items to keep from running out. We’re working hard to get help for food bank visitors, but for some people, especially those living alone or in temporary accommodation, there’s little we can do beyond offering a parcel of food, a warm drink and a conversation. Our resources are already under quite a bit of strain, and the winter is only beginning.”
In order to reduce these relentless levels of need, the Trussell Trust is calling on the UK Government to use the upcoming Autumn Statement to build on its work to protect households on the lowest incomes and for the Welsh Government to develop a national plan to reduce and prevent the need for emergency food aid.
Susan Lloyd-Selby, Policy and Public Affairs Network Lead Wales at the Trussell Trust said: “These statistics are extremely alarming. An increasing number of children are growing up in families facing hunger, forced to turn to food banks to survive. A generation is growing up believing that it’s normal to see a food bank in every community. This is not right.
“Rising hunger and hardship have devastating consequences for individuals and our communities, damage the nation’s health and hold back our economy. People in work, as well as people who cannot work, are increasingly being pushed into debt and forced to turn to a food bank to survive.
“That’s why the UK Government must build on its work to protect people from increasingly severe hardship and commit to putting an Essentials Guarantee into legislation, to embed in our social security system the widely supported principle that, at a minimum, Universal Credit should protect people from going without essentials.
“We are also urging the Welsh Government to do more to support people facing financial hardship, starting with developing a national plan to reduce and prevent the need for emergency food aid. Furthermore, the Welsh Government should ensure that the Child Poverty Strategy targets action on the children at greatest risk of poverty and includes metrics which capture people’s inability to afford the essentials, such as food insecurity, destitution and levels of need for food banks.”
The Trussell Trust is encouraging people to show their support for people facing hardship by signing a petition urging UK political party leaders to support the introduction of an Essentials Guarantee to ensure that the basic rate of University Credit at least covers life’s essentials, such as food and bills. You can find out more here: Guarantee our essentials – The Trussell Trust