An ex­cep­tion to food­bank rule

Fewer peo­ple in Hilling­don us­ing cen­tres but de­mand rises else­where

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Will Ack­er­mann will.ack­er­mann@trin­i­tymir­

THE num­ber of peo­ple us­ing food banks in Hilling­don has dropped over the past year, buck­ing the na­tional trend.

Across the UK, more than one mil­lion peo­ple, in­clud­ing al­most 400,000 chil­dren, re­ceived at least three days’ worth of emer­gency sup­plies from Trus­sell Trust food banks be­tween April 1, 2014 and March 31, 2015.

But in Hilling­don, the num­ber fell from 2,021 in 2013/14 to 1,937 in 2014/15 – a four per cent de­crease.

Ham­mer­smith and Ful­ham was the only other west Lon­don bor­ough to ex­pe­ri­ence a decline in user num­bers.

Across west Lon­don, the num­ber of peo­ple re­liant on food banks sky­rock­eted by al­most a third over the 12 months, reach­ing more than 14,000.

This fig­ure, which does not ac­count for those us­ing in­de­pen­dent food banks, in­cluded more than 5,000 chil­dren.

The trust, which runs 445 food banks across the UK, in­clud­ing 39 in Lon­don, said the big­gest driver of food bank use was prob­lems with benefits, such as pay­ment de­lays and changes, but added that low in­come was in­creas­ingly be­com­ing a fac­tor.

Re­fer­rals made be­cause of sick­ness, home­less­ness and un­em­ploy­ment also in­creased slightly over the 12 months, the trust said.

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Direc­tor Adrian Curtis said: “De­spite wel­come signs of eco­nomic re­cov­ery, hunger con­tin­ues to af­fect sig­nif­i­cant num­bers of men, women and chil­dren in the UK to­day.

“It’s dif­fi­cult to be sure of the full ex­tent of the prob­lem as Trus­sell Trust fig­ures don’t in­clude peo­ple who are helped by other food char­i­ties or those who feel too ashamed to seek help.”

He added: “The Trus­sell Trust’s lat­est fig­ures high­light how vi­tal it is that we all work to pre­vent and re­lieve hunger in the UK.

“It’s cru­cial that we lis­ten to the ex­pe­ri­ences of peo­ple us­ing food banks to truly un­der­stand the na­ture of the prob­lems they face. What peo­ple who have gone hun­gry have to say holds the key to find­ing the so­lu­tion.” 2220 email ad­ uk

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Food­bank use in the area is down four per cent

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