Covid-19: Salisbury charity finds food bank use is UP 81%

Covid-19: Salisbury charity finds food bank use is UP 81%

Published by Faye Tryhorn at 8:11am 1st May 2020.

3 minute read

The Trussell Trust says this the busiest time they've ever had across their nationwide network of food banks.

The figures are from the last two weeks of March 2020, when the lockdown restrictions came into effect, having a major impact on the income of many families, and the additional strain of children not going to school.

The Trussell Trust reports that their 81% increase in emergency food parcels given out also includes a 122% rise in support being given to children, compared to the same period in 2019.

Spire FM Tonne of Tins Salisbury Foodbank
The Trussell Trust is calling for us to keep supporting their donation points across Salisbury

Salisbury's Foodbank has made some changes to their operations to help people during the Covid-19 pandemic.

They've opened up an extra donation point for us to help provide stocks to go into emergency food parcels - with the new location at the Lidl supermarket on London Road in Salisbury.

More support for families in the Downton area has been set up too - with help from the Co-Op store in the village and Downton Baptist Church. 

WHAT CAN BE DONE TO HELP? 

The Trussell Trust is working alongside a number of other organisations - such as the Independent Food Aid Network, Child Poverty Action Group, Children's Society, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, StepChange and Turn2us to urge the Government to provide extra help.

They've praised the measures being brought in to help families, like additional investment in the Universal Credit and Local Housing Allowance funds, and the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme.

But they're warning that more is needed, and is calling for a Coronavirus Emergency Income Support Scheme to help individuals and families already facing hardship, and for the Government to work more closely with charities.

Trussell Trust Salisbury Foodbank Warehouse
Foodbank usage has increased by 81% since the coronavirus lockdown came into effect

The 'coalition' has come up ideas that could help including: 

  • Increasing benefits that go to families to help with the costs of raising children
  • Extending the suspension of benefit deductions to cover advance payments - these are often taken to cover the five-week wait for a first Universal Credit payment
  • Lifting the benefit cap and two-child policy to ensure this support scheme benefits everyone 
  • Ensuring local authorities in England can provide effective crisis support to individuals and families

Chief Executive of the Trussell Trust, Emma Revie, says:

"The last few weeks have shown we must come together to protect each other against the unexpected. Like a tidal wave gathering pace, an economic crisis is sweeping towards us - but we don't all have lifeboats. It's not right that this has meant some of us don't have enough money for essentials and are being pushed to food banks.

"Now is the time to build on the foundations our government has laid. We need emergency measures to ensure people can makes ends meet during this crisis. We have the power to come together as a country and make sure support is there to stop any of us being swept into poverty during this emergency."

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