The view from the foodbank during this cost of living emergency…
Last week The Trussell Trust released the mid-year stats for all foodbanks in the network. They include stark new figures showing it was busiest 6 months on record for this time of year. Across the network in Scotland the statistics showed:
- 34% increase in number of parcels given out compared to the same period last year
- 40,000 parcels were distributed to children, the most ever
- 27,000 people used a Trussell Trust foodbank for the first time during this period
- 1 in 5 people referred to food banks in mid 2022 were in households where someone was working
It won’t surprise you that these Scottish figures are reflected in what we are seeing here. Between April and September this year we provided emergency food support to 2,319 households in East Lothian, feeding 5,488 people – including over 2000 children. This was a 58% increase in the number of households needing support compared to this time last year.
The last 3 months have sadly been the busiest on record with us reaching targets we would never want to meet. We know that referrals have been impacted by the additional funding allocated to the Scottish Welfare Fund by East Lothian Council with reduced referrals being received from SWF in September and October. However, overall demand remains at it’s highest yet and referrals from East Lothian Council services still accounted for a quarter of all referrals in October, closely followed by NHS services (24%) and then our local Citizen Advice Bureaus (22%). You can find our October factsheet here.
The coming months are likely to be the most challenging winter we (and other foodbanks) have ever faced as the soaring cost of living means more and more people are being forced to use food banks.
At this time when we’re experiencing the highest demand we’ve ever seen, please know we are so grateful for your generous donations of time, skills, food and money.
Thank you for all you continue to do so we can ensure help is here for anyone in our community struggling to afford the essentials.
We also know that the UK government’s Cost of Living Payment had some positive impact on need for emergency food parcels both for us and across Scotland, with July seeing a dip in levels of need from previous months. This reduction gives some indication that, through increasing the income of people in receipt of working age benefits, the level of need for emergency food parcels was slightly reduced, with the payment providing temporary respite for some households in the face of increasing costs and inadequate benefit levels. However, following the dip in need seen in July 2022, we and other food banks in the Trussell Trust network in Scotland recorded our busiest ever August and September months.
The recent increases in need seen by us and other food banks in Scotland reflects the clear impact that the rising cost of living is having on the people of Scotland – with many reporting going hungry or cold even before we enter the winter months.
THIS ISN’T RIGHT!
We know things don’t have to be this way.
No one in our community should need the support of a charity to help put food on the table. Everyone in our community should be able to afford the essentials.
The cost of living emergency is impacting all of us. But for people on the lowest incomes, it’s simply impossible.
That’s why we are supporting the Trussell Trust in their call to the UK government and governments at all levels to do what’s right and take immediate action that will ensure security always provides a lifeline when people need support. We will continue to support the push for the long-term changes we need to create a future where everyone has enough money for the essentials and live fulfilled lives, free from financial hardship.
While we do that longer-term work, your support continues to be crucial – especially as the cost of living emergency bites. As we face our busiest and toughest winter yet, we would:
- Encourage you to please reach out to us if there’s anything we can do to support you or someone you know through this difficult time – you can get in contact with us by by emailing us on [email protected] or calling or sending a whatsapp to 07516 510 617
- Encourage you to please continue having conversations with your friends, family and neighbours about the impossible decisions that people visiting the food bank are facing and how they can help us this winter.
- Encourage you to please follow our social media channels/look out for updates on their website/look out for further updates on how we can best support people struggling to afford the essentials this winter. Please also encourage your friends, family and neighbours to follow us too.
Lastly, just another heartfelt thank you from all of us here at the foodbank. We really couldn’t provide any of the support we do without all of you.
Thank you for all you are doing.
East Lothian Foodbank