87,000 North East Families Rely On Foodbanks

The number of people using foodbanks in the North East has reached more than 87,000 after an increase in workers on low pay having to seek emergency help for food, new figures have revealed.

The Trussell Trust said a record one million families across the country needed food supplies in the last year.

Almost 400,000 children were among those receiving at least three days' of supplies from the charity's 445 foodbanks across the UK in the past year.

The figure doesn't tell the true picture of the crisis, as many small charities and churches also run foodbanks or schemes for handing out food to families in need.

Reverend Alan Dickinson runs The Bay Foodbank in North Tyneside and says that is the case.

He said:
"We're one of many independent foodbanks so although The Trussell Trust say there are a million people using foodbanks I think we can double that."

"Some of the clients we deliver to are in tears on the door, others can't look at you in the eye because they feel so ashamed."

The Trussell Trust, which launched its first foodbank in Salisbury in 2000, said 1,084,604 people received supplies in the last financial year, an increase of 19% over the previous 12 months.

Problems with benefits were the main reason people visited foodbanks, but the Trust said there had been an increase in those on low incomes.

Foodbank managers reported dealing with people struggling with insecure work, low pay and high living costs.

Trussell Trust UK foodbank 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."

"Trussell Trust foodbanks are increasingly hosting additional services like debt counselling and welfare advice at our foodbanks, which is helping more people out of crisis."

"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 foodbanks 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."

A qualified teacher and mother of two who uses foodbanks, said:
"I have an 18-month-old son and an eight-year-old stepson, I work part time as a teacher and my husband has an insecure agency contract."

"There are times when he doesn't get enough hours of work, and we really struggle to afford food and pay the bills. The foodbank meant we could put food on the table."

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