New figures show 5854 emergency food supplies given to local people by Oldham Foodbank in last year
- 5854 three day emergency food supplies given to local people in crisis by Oldham Foodbank in 2016-17 – 2062 went to children
- Latest statistics published by The Trussell Trust foodbank network show UK-wide foodbank figures are still not decreasing
- Local increase due to people struggling with continued issues with benefit payments; problems with Universal Credit and low wages
Over 5850 three day emergency food supplies were provided to local people in crisis by Oldham foodbank during 2016-17, compared to 5005 in 2015-16. Of this number, 2062 went to children. The top three reasons for foodbank referral were: benefit delay 34.8%; benefit change 30.3%; low income 11.5%.
Over the last year, local people have donated 51 tonnes of food to Oldham Foodbank, and over 70 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.
Oldham 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. Oldham 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, Oldham Foodbank provides essentials like washing powder, nappies and sanitary products to families who are struggling, as well as signposting them to other services in the local. Many Trussell Trust foodbanks, including Oldham 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.
Andrew Barr, Manager of Oldham Foodbank said:
“It is deeply concerning that we are still seeing an increase in the number of three day emergency food supplies provided to local people in crisis in the Oldham area over the last 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 really is only with the community’s 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 Oldham. 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 who already donates time, food and money to help local people. If you’re not already involved, we’d love to hear from you!”
Despite generous donations of food, there are many hidden costs to run the foodbank. Costs include overheads like utilities and insurances. 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.oldham.foodbank.org.uk