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Rutland Foodbank sees 15% increase in referrals as households struggle

By Evie Payne

15th May 2024 | Local News

Referrals to Rutland Foodbank have seen an increase once again. Image credit: Nub News.
Referrals to Rutland Foodbank have seen an increase once again. Image credit: Nub News.

In the last 12 months, from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024, the Rutland Foodbank received 820 referrals requesting emergency food parcels for households across Rutland struggling to get by on low incomes.

This is a 15% increase in the number referrals compared to the previous year, as more and more people struggle to afford essentials such as food.

The referrals were made for residents living in 305 households across Rutland.

This mirrors last year's increase, which saw a 17% rise in numbers fed.

Ali Wainwright, Chair of Trustees at Rutland Foodbank said: "Excluding year one of the Pandemic, 2023-24 was the busiest year for emergency parcels provided. What is of concern is the number of referrals this year that were for new households, indicative of the impact of the Cost of Living Crisis." 

"We have seen an understandable reduction in the donations we receive as the cost of living increases impact upon the local community. To address this last year we purchased more items to keep up with the local needs."

"Unlike many other food banks, due to the wonderful support from our all our donors we are still able to pick & pack 7-day emergency food and toiletry packs." 

"Using our van means we are able to deliver emergency food and toiletry parcels to anyone living in Rutland who needs our help." The levels of need were particularly acute in January 2024 which was the busiest month for Rutland Foodbank, with 82 emergency food parcels provided by volunteers."

Despite being viewed as a prosperous area, Rutland residents have been struggling. Image credit: Nub News.

The team shared alarming statistics of the increase in those needing the Foodbank:

  • 121 (15%) of the referrals were for new households who had not previously been helped by the Rutland Foodbank
  • Of concern, 446 (57%) of the parcels were provided to households which included children
  • Nearly 27% of the parcels were provided to those in work but struggling to afford food, this was a 7% increase compared with 2022-23
  • Nearly 40% of households only needed to be helped once during the year but there were some that needed more emergency help. In all we supported 1189 adults and 850 children, not forgetting their household pets
  • Ingredients for over 43,000 meals were distributed
  • Over 31,300 kg of donated items were sent out across Rutland

In addition, new annual figures from the Trussell Trust show that more than 3.1 million food parcels were given out across the UK 

Ali Wainwright added: "Without the generosity of so many people, charities and businesses in Rutland we would struggle to maintain our help. So I'd like to thank everyone who donates and supports us and a very special thank you to our amazing resilient and dedicated volunteers who continue to give their time so freely."

"We continue to work very closely with our referrers to signpost clients to local agencies and the council to ensure they are getting all the benefits, grants and allowances they are entitled to and to support their wellbeing." 

"We are particularly grateful to the Trussell Trust for grant funding that enables us to work with Citizens Advice Rutland on a local Financial Inclusion Project that helps food bank users to maximize their household income, thereby helping clients to regain their independence, making it less likely they will need the food bank again in the future."

"We are supporting the 'Guarantee our Essentials' campaign, which is led by the Trussell Trust and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, to ensure that we reach a situation where households have sufficient income to afford the basics and we end the need for food banks." 

"We help many and varied households across the Rutland and will continue to do so until we reach the stage where no-one needs a food bank." 

Rutland Foodbank welcomes donations. Image credit: Trussel Trust.

Rutland Foodbank is part of the Trussell Trust's network, which reports record levels of need in the last 12 months with more than 3.1 million emergency food parcels provided to people facing hardship between April 2023 and March 2024. More than 1.1 million of these parcels were provided for children.

The Trussell Trust is calling for urgent reform of the social security system as it is currently failing in its most basic duty – to protect people from going without essentials we all need in life. Alongside many other organisations, the anti-poverty charity is urging the UK Government to introduce an 'Essentials Guarantee' into Universal Credit to ensure everyone has a protected minimum amount of support to afford the essentials.

Speaking about the rising need for emergency food, Emma Revie, Chief Executive at the Trussell Trust, said: "It's 2024 and we're facing historically high levels of food bank need. As a society, we cannot allow this to continue. We must not let food banks become the new norm. As we approach the next UK General Election, we urgently need all political leaders to set out how they will build a future where no one needs a food bank to survive. Voters want to see a change and we need cross-government action at all levels to deliver it. We know what's pushing people to food banks, so we know what needs to change. 

"A supportive social security system is the bedrock on which we end hunger for good, and we also need to ensure everyone can get the right support at the right time. People should be supported in a way that reflects the reality of their lives, especially if they're facing the higher costs and barriers that impact certain groups such as parents, carers, and disabled people. Everyone should have the security we all need to access opportunities and have hope for the future. 

"Food banks are not the answer. They will be there to support people as long as they are needed, but by taking bold action our political leaders can build a future where everyone has enough money to afford the life's essentials. The time to act is now."

The Trussell Trust has set out the crucial actions the next UK Government must take to support people and ensure everyone has enough money to afford life's essentials.

Read more here.

     

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