The growing demand for foodbanks seen in Derbyshire has been confirmed by a national report published by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
The findings back up Derbyshire County Council’s evidence that an increasing number of local people are now relying on emergency food parcels from foodbanks based in Bolsover and South Normanton among others.
Cabinet member for health and communities, Coun Dave Allen, said: “This report underlines how many of our residents are struggling under the pressure of a national cost of living crisis.
“It’s appalling that in one of the world’s richest economies people are allowed to fall through the net of welfare support.”
The Defra-commissioned report published this week concluded that food banks are ‘consistently’ seeing an increase in demand.
In Derbyshire, figures for Clay Cross Foodbank alone show that over the last year it fed 2,557 residents compared with 944 in 2012 – an increase of 171 per cent.
The county council recently approved £126,000 support funding and invited local food banks to apply for a share to help them cope with increased demand.
Eighteen of the county’s 22 food banks applied and were awarded grants to help them feed more people by buying fridges and storage boxes, covering additional volunteer and running costs and paying for training, administration and rent.
Councillor Allen added: “In Derbyshire we took this action to ward off a potential health crisis as part of our commitment to tackling poverty, supporting people on low incomes and reducing health inequalities.
“As well as the extra money we’re also supporting appeals to encourage local people to volunteer at food banks and donate food and are arranging for some of our libraries and other council buildings to act as food collection points.”
The rising cost of living, static incomes, changes to benefits and unemployment have meant increasing numbers of people in the UK have hit a crisis that forces them to go hungry.
According to national figures released by the UK’s biggest food bank network The Trussell Trust, the number of people relying on food banks has tripled to almost 350,000 over the last year.
Food banks are run by charities and non-profit organisations and provide a minimum of three days’ emergency food and support to people experiencing crisis. To receive a food parcel, residents need to be referred to a food bank from children’s centres, GPs, schools, the probation service, Derbyshire police or a range of other advice agencies.
Most of the food is donated by local people or provided by UK charity FareShare which distributes surplus ‘fit for purpose’ products from the food and drink industry, including major supermarkets, to community organisations.
Derbyshire’s food banks are in Ashbourne, Belper, Bolsover, Buxton, Chesterfield, Clay Cross, Gamesley, Glossop, Heanor, Holmewood, Ilkeston, Killamarsh, Langley Mill, Littlemoor, Long Eaton, Matlock, New Mills, Ripley, South Normanton and Swadlincote.
For local food bank contact details visit www.advicederbyshire.org
View the Defra report at www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/283072/household-food-security-uk-executive-summary-140219.pdf