Demand for Food Bank soars in Wisbech

St George and his dragon wow the crowds at March's St George's Fayre on Sunday.
St George and his dragon wow the crowds at March's St George's Fayre on Sunday.
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The demand for Wisbech Food Bank continues to soar – with nearly 1,800 people living in crisis relying on it last year.

The number of vulnerable people existing on emergency food handouts from the charity has risen from 1,422 in 2013-14 to 1,755 in 2014-15.

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It comes as its provider, the Trussell Trust, revealed it had helped people a staggering 913,138 times from its 445 UK food banks in the last financial year – up from 128,697 in 2012.

More than two-thirds of those who have been forced to turn to the Wisbech organisation for help are struggling to cope due to having their benefits stopped through sanctions, or being changed.

Others are unemployed, or having difficulty managing their household budgets – particularly agency workers and those on zero-hours contracts.

Keith Aplin, Wisbech Food Bank’s chairman of the trustees, believes the rise in demand is linked to economic hardship – and doesn’t think next week’s elections will do much to change it.

He said: “Whoever wins (the election), things are not going to change radically. There will still be a degree of austerity so it looks as though we are in for another year or two of it at least and we will be here to continue addressing the needs of the town.”

A study by Oxford University scientists, published in the British Medical Journal earlier this month, also said there was “clear evidence” linking increased food bank use with UK areas that have seen greater unemployment and welfare and government spending cuts.

The Wisbech figures come almost two years after the food bank was set up at Wisbech Baptist Church in Hill Street.

More than 14.5 tonnes of food was donated to the charity by local people last year, and over 40 people volunteered to help.

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