The shocking rise in
MORE and more people in Coventry – including young children – appear to be going hungry as the city’s foodbank reveals a staggering increase in people needing emergency food supplies.
Coventry Foodbank , one of the busiest in the wider Trussell Trust network of foodbanks, handed out 20,089 emergency food packages to people in Coventry last year – a massive jump of 30 per cent from the previous year.
Shockingly, that means more than 55 packages are handed out on average every day to those struggling to feed themselves.
Even more worryingly, 8,000 of those three-day emergency food supplies went to children who would have otherwise gone hungry.
The 20,000-plus packages were handed out to people in crisis between April 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018 thanks to donations from the generous of people of Coventry.
A massive 141 tonnes of food – almost the weight of two Boeing 737-800 airplanes – was donated in that period.
The financial year before, 15,500 packages were distributed to people across the city.
To put the shocking rise into context, the increase in food packages handed out across the UK is 13 per cent.
Coventry Foodbank says the local increase is due to people struggling with benefit payments and failing to find secure work.
It also highlighted a general squeeze in living standards in the city.
But staff at the foodbank are also concerned the huge jump will not be the end of the rise in demand for emergency food in Coventry.
They say they are expecting “another significant increase” when Universal Credit – a new benefit system which replaces a range of existing benefits, including housing benefit – is fully rolled out in the city this July.
Critics say it has driven people into debt, partly because they have to wait six weeks for their first payment, and other foodbanks where the new benefit has been fully introduced have been hit hard.
Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, said: “Universal Credit is the future of our benefits system.
“It’s vital we get it right, and ensure levels of payment keep pace with the rising cost of essentials, particularly for groups of people we know are already more likely to need a foodbank – disabled people, people dealing with an illness, families with children and single parents.”
On top of calling for benefits to be uprated in line with inflation to ensure payments keep pace with the cost of living, the Trussell Trust is also asking for an urgent inquiry into poor administration within Universal Credit, so errors such as incorrect payments along with poor communication issues can be tackled. Coventry Foodbank has been providing three days of emergency food and support to local people since 2011.
The organisation operates at 16 locations around the city as well as their main distribution hub on Progress Way in Binley . Hugh McNeill, manager of Coventry Foodbank, said: “We don’t want to be here forever. No one in Coventry should need a foodbank’s help and we want to see an end to local people needing emergency food at all.
“It doesn’t have to be this way – with a benefits system that catches people before they fall into crisis, and secure work that provides people with enough money to cover the cost of essentials, this is possible.
“But until that time, we’ll continue to provide vital support when it matters most – we’re dedicated to ensuring that people in our community with no money for food are able to access emergency support, and that has only been possible in the last year because of the incredible generosity shown by
No one in Coventry should need a foodbank’s help and we want to see an end to local people needing emergency food at all.