- 10,330 three day emergency food supplies were given to local people in crisis by Stoke-on-Trent Foodbank in 2016-17, of these 3,913 went to children
- Latest statistics published by The Trussell Trust foodbank network show UK-wide foodbank figures are still not decreasing
- With the impact of further welfare reform being felt across Stoke-on-Trent, this 6% decrease is only thought to have been possible because of the Money Matters ‘drop-in’ services offered in Stoke-on-Trent based Foodbanks. Funded until September 2017 by Stoke on Trent City Council and delivered by the Salt Box (http://www.saltbox.org.uk/), this benefit, debt and budgeting money advice service is available at the point of need to foodbank guests who are facing a crisis which has caused financial hardship.
Over 10,330 three day emergency food supplies were provided to local people in crisis by Stoke-on-Trent foodbank during 2016-17, compared to 11,038 in 2015-16. Of this number, 3,913 went to children. The top three reasons for foodbank referral were: benefit delays 26%; low income 24%; and benefit changes 23%.
Over the last year, local people have donated 99 tonnes of food to Stoke-on-Trent Foodbank, and over 250 people 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. Over 400 agencies partner with Stoke-on-Trent Foodbank by issuing Foodbank vouchers to give to those they identify to be in crisis and unable to put food on the table.
Stoke-on-Trent Foodbank shares the concerns of other Trussell Trust foodbanks in Universal Credit rollout areas about the adverse side effects the new system can have on people. The 6+ week waiting period for a first payment can contribute to debt, mental health issues and rent arrears. The effects of these can last even after people receive their Universal Credit payments, as bills and debts pile up. Stoke-on-Trent Foodbank is working hard to stop local people affected going hungry but is troubled by the extra pressure this puts on food donation stocks and volunteers’ time and emotional welfare.
As well as providing emergency food, Stoke-on-Trent Foodbank provides when available, essentials like washing powder, nappies and sanitary products to those who are struggling, as well as signposting them to other services in the local area. Many Trussell Trust foodbanks, including Stoke-on-Trent Foodbank, are partnering with other agencies to provide additional services such as welfare advice, budgeting help and debt support at the foodbank itself, helping people to break out of crisis.
Anna Willcocks, Project Manager of Stoke-on-Trent Foodbank said:
“Whilst we have seen a decrease in the number of emergency food supplies we provide, need remains high, and we are concerned about the increasing impact of further welfare reforms. The report of the Stoke-on-Trent Hardship commission (extract below), illustrates why we must secure continuation funding to enable us to carry on providing the vital benefit, debt and budgeting money advice service, available at the point of need to foodbank guests. We want to help people get out of a continuous cycle of crisis. We have seen that the Money Matters advisor has made this possible for so many people”.
Extract taken from The Stoke-on-Trent Hardship Commission’s 2017 report: ‘One Year On’….
“The initial phase of the government’s Universal Credit scheme was rolled out in Stoke-on-Trent from February 2016. This phase affected single Jobseekers Allowance claimants in the City; subsequent phases are expected to be rolled out over the next few years with full roll our now schedule for March 2018. Initial modelling of the impact of the government’s welfare reforms as a result of their austerity programmes, indicates that about 60% of households in the city are likely to see a reduction in their annual income of at least £500, including 26% who are forecast to lose more than £1,500.00 a year. Families and single parents with more than one child are expected to be hit hardest by reductions in their welfare income. Household composition data shows that there are almost 15,000 households with two or more children in Stoke-on-Trent. Overall reductions to the current cash total of benefits being received into the city are forecast to drop by around £78m per annum. Currency instability has led to rises in the prices of basic commodities. Fuel prices are increasing again as a result of global agreements to reduce production levels. Economists predict that fuel prices will continue to rise in the short term, and that food and imported goods may also cost more in the UK from next year”…
“Anybody could find themselves in need of the foodbank. Every week people are referred to us after being hit by something unavoidable – such as illness, a delay in a benefit payment or an unexpected bill – means food is simply unaffordable. It is only with the community’s generous support that we’re able to provide vital emergency help when it matters most, and we hope that one day there will be no need for us in Stoke-on-Trent. But until that day comes, we will continue to offer the best possible service to help local people facing a crisis. Thank you so much to everyone in Stoke-on-Trent who already donates time, food and money to help local people. If you’re not already involved, we’d love to hear from you!” Find out more on our Website https://stokeontrent.foodbank.org.uk/
Despite generous donations of food, there are many hidden costs to running the foodbank. Costs include warehouse space to sort and stock donated food, a van to pick up donated food and deliver to distribution centres, overheads like utilities and insurances, as well as staff to co-ordinate the activity. 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