Statistics from Brighton and Hove food banks revealed

NEW evidence shows thousands of people in Brighton and Hove now depend on the support of charities week in and week out to meet their daily food needs.

Figures from the city’s annual Emergency Food Network survey show an 18 percent increase in the number of people seeking help from food banks, social supermarkets and food projects.

More than 5,000 people in the city turned to Nnetwork members each week for their food needs last year – and more than 3,000 people returned regularly.

During the same period, cash and food donations fell by 69 percent, leaving charities struggling to meet demand.

The Emergency Food Network this week sent an urgent appeal to incoming Prime Minister Liz Truss, urging the government to launch an immediate package of measures to deal with the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on those living in poverty.

These include raising benefit levels to counteract inflation, ending the five-week wait for Universal Credit and improving the energy efficiency of people’s homes.

Brighton Food Bank’s Mike Jourdain said: “We are concerned about what will happen this winter if energy prices continue to rise. We fear that we will not be able to cope with the inevitable increase in demand for our support.”

Low incomes, the cost of living crisis and illness/disability were the top reasons given by the 44 members of the Emergency Food Network for people seeking their services. Further results of the survey showed:

  • More than half of the network’s members saw an increase in the number of people joining them.

• More than 60 percent supported a growing number of refugees, migrants and asylum seekers who had no access to other funds

• Two-thirds of members have experienced a significant drop in food stocks and supplies.

The drop in food stocks is believed to be due to donors themselves feeling the effects of the cost of living crisis, as well as donor fatigue.

The Emergency Food Network is convened by the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership. Helen Starr-Keddle of the Food Partnership said: “Beleaguered community projects that are donation-based and run by volunteers need to pick up on the government’s failings.

“Day in and day out, they support people of all ages and backgrounds who are at risk of malnutrition, homelessness, poor education, and mental and physical health impairments. The cost of preventing this is less than the cost of the consequences. The government must act now.”

The Council had previously published figures in April. Statistics from Brighton and Hove food banks revealed

Fry Electronics Team

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