Charity calls for direct DWP hotline as new figures show 2693 emergency food parcels given to local people by Oldham Foodbank in six months
- 2693 three day emergency food supplies given to local people in crisis by Oldham Foodbank in first half of the year – over 960 went to children
- Latest statistics published by The Trussell Trust foodbank network show UK-wide foodbank figures are still not decreasing
- Charity calls for foodbank telephone ‘hotline’ to local Job Centres to support people in crisis more quickly and efficiently, reducing negative impact on mental wellbeing
Over 2690 three day emergency food supplies were provided to local people by Oldham foodbank during April – September 2016, compared to 2175 during the same period in 2015. Of this number, 967 went to children. The top three reasons for foodbank referral were: benefit delay 35 %; benefit change 24%; low income 15%.
ANDREW BARR, Foodbank Manager of OLDHAM Foodbank said:
“Anybody could find themselves in need of the foodbank. Every week we meet local people like you or me, who have been hit by something unavoidable – such as illness, a delay in welfare payments or an unexpected bill – and are unable to afford food. It really is only with the community’s support that we’re able to provide vital emergency help when it most matters, and we’re constantly surprised and overwhelmed by local people’s generosity.
We’re keen to work with individuals, businesses and organisations across the community to help put a stop to local people going hungry – there’s a part for everyone to play. Thank you so much to everyone in Oldham who already donates time, food and money to help local people. If you’re not already involved, we’d love to hear from you!”
Oldham Foodbank is part of The Trussell Trust foodbank network. The Trussell Trust has today proposed a direct telephone line between foodbanks and local job centres – as it reveals that more than half a million emergency food parcels have been issued across the UK in the first six months of the year. The staggering number means that the foodbank network is on course to distribute the highest number of food parcels in its 12-year history during 2016-17.
The proposed hotline would provide vital timely and invaluable trouble-shooting support for people referred to foodbanks because of problems with a welfare claim and may prevent them from needing the foodbank again. A hotline would be a low cost solution that allows foodbank managers and volunteers to support those in serious crises more quickly and efficiently, reducing stress and negative impact on the mental wellbeing of people referred to the foodbank. Evidence from The Trussell Trust network of foodbanks suggests foodbank managers, volunteers and welfare advisers spend a significant amount of time on hold to DWP phone lines on behalf of people in crisis.
David McAuley, Chief Executive of The Trussell Trust said:
“To stop UK hunger we must make sure the welfare system works fairly and compassionately, stopping people getting to a point where they have no money to eat. It feels like we could be seeing a new era at the DWP with a consultation on Work Capability Assessments and willingness to engage in dialogue with charities working on the front line. A telephone hotline could build on this and go a long way to improving foodbanks’ ability to help get people out of a crisis faster.”
The running costs for the foodbank are raised locally to enable us to continue their work. Costs include things like our van to pick up donated food and deliver to distribution centres, The van was bought from Oldham Ford with grants from The Stoller Trust and Mary Howell Memorial Trust, and we have the other usual overheads like utilities and insurances. With our impending move to The Three Crowns in a few weeks we will also have costs in getting the building ready for our use. 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 www,olddham.foodbank.org.uk
Andrew Barr, Oldham Foodbank Manager can be reached on [email protected]
or 0161 622 1061