SPECIAL REPORT: 128 per cent rise in children relying on Chesterfield Foodbank over Christmas

More and more people are relying on foodbanks.
More and more people are relying on foodbanks.
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Nearly 300 people turned to Chesterfield's foodbank over the Christmas period so they wouldn't go hungry.

The Derbyshire Times has obtained figures from Chesterfield Foodbank showing it helped feed 280 residents in crisis during December.

Of those, 182 were adults - up 72 per cent on the same month in 2016.

Meanwhile, there was a 128 per cent rise in the number of children getting help from the foodbank on West Bars.

In total, 98 youngsters were fed thanks to the charitable organisation.

Tim Rourke, chairman of Chesterfield Foodbank, said: "We are concerned at the dramatic increase of people in need of the Chesterfield Foodbank over the Christmas period.

"Every year we see a spike in December but these figures suggest more people than ever, particularly children, are finding themselves facing hunger over the Christmas period and we are closely monitoring the ongoing situation.

"We are incredibly grateful to all our wonderful volunteers and our generous donors," he added.

Chesterfield Foodbank is a franchisee of the Trussell Trust.

The Trussell Trust believes that foodbanks nationally have been very busy over the Christmas period.

Lindsay Gutteridge and Janet Wright, who volunteer with Chesterfield Foodbank. Picture by Rachel Atkins.

Lindsay Gutteridge and Janet Wright, who volunteer with Chesterfield Foodbank. Picture by Rachel Atkins.

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins said: "I visited Chesterfield Foodbank's warehouse just before Christmas and was once again impressed with the spirit of community in our town that means help is available to those in the most desperate circumstances.

"Food prices and household bills have continued to increase while stagnant wages and disastrous welfare reforms have left thousands of households struggling to cover the bills and many families forced to choose between heating and eating.

"Foodbanks have played an escalating role in ensuring people aren't going hungry.

"However, the fact they are becoming normalised highlights the grim realities of living under a Tory Government.

Lindsay Gutteridge and Janet Wright, who volunteer with Chesterfield Foodbank. Picture by Rachel Atkins.

Lindsay Gutteridge and Janet Wright, who volunteer with Chesterfield Foodbank. Picture by Rachel Atkins.

"Foodbanks shouldn't be accepted as a normal part of life and I will be making the case that we as a society need to address the evils that cause such outright poverty."

A Government spokesman stated: "Reasons for foodbank use are complex so it’s misleading to link them to any one issue.

"We continue to spend around £90billion a year supporting people, including those who are out of work or on a low income.

"Work is the best means of providing people with financial security.

"With our welfare reforms people are moving into employment faster and staying there longer than under the old system."

If you would like to donate produce to Chesterfield Foodbank, collection points are located at Tesco Metro in Low Pavements, Tesco Extra at Lockoford Lane and Chesterfield Library.

Urgently needed items are:

► Long-life milk;

► Long-life juice;

► Pasta sauces;

► Tinned fruit;

► Coffee;

► Biscuits.

For more information about volunteering with Chesterfield Foodbank, visit www.chesterfield.foodbank.org.uk/give-help/volunteer

How the UK’s foodbanks work, according to the Trussell Trust

Every day, people go hungry for reasons ranging from redundancy to receiving an unexpected bill on a low income.

A simple box of food makes a big difference - with foodbanks helping prevent crime, housing loss, family breakdown and mental health problems.

Food donations

Non-perishable, in-date food is donated by the public at a range of places such as schools, churches and business as well as supermarket collection points. It is then sorted into emergency food parcels by more than 40,000 volunteers to be given to people in need.

Food vouchers

Care professionals - such as health visitors, schools and social workers - identify people in crisis and issue them with a foodbank voucher. This entitles them to receive a foodbank parcel of three days’ nutritionally balanced, non-perishable food.

More than food

Foodbanks also offer a lot more than food. Volunteers provide a listening ear to clients over a warm drink and signpost people to other charities and agencies shich can help resolve the underlying cause of the crisis.

For more information about foodbanks, visit www.trusselltrust.org

5 foodbank facts

► The Trussell Trust’s 428-strong network of foodbanks provides a minimum of three days’ emergency food and support to people experiencing crisis in the UK;

► In 2016-17, the Trussell Trust gave a total of 1,182,954 three-day emergency food supplies to those in desperate need;

► 11,175 tonnes of food were donated by the public to Trussell Trust foodbanks last year;

► Nearly 50,000 frontline professionals such as doctors and social workers give foodbank vouchers to people in crisis;

► 40,000 people volunteered with a Trussell Trust foodbank in 2016-17.

The main reasons people were referred to a Trussell Trust foodbank between April and September last year

► 25.52 per cent - low income

► 24.75 per cent - benefit delays

► 17.90 per cent - benefit changes

► 8.29 per cent - debt

► 7.82 per cent - other

► 5.41 per cent - homelessness

► 2.81 per cent - sickness

► 2.74 per cent - no recourse to public funds

► 1.50 per cent - domestic violence

► 1.04 per cent - child holiday meals

► 0.83 per cent - delayed wages

► 0.40 per cent - refused STBA benefit