Half of children helped by foodbanks over summer holiday months are primary school age

Last summer, 47 per cent of children who received support from foodbanks in one charity's network were aged just five-11 years old.

Help at hand - The Tressell Trust IEmhJBp3xomJeQmz4hAU
Help at hand - The Tressell Trust IEmhJBp3xomJeQmz4hAU

This is one of the findings by The Tressell Trust that runs support through more than 400 foodbanks, including an outlet in every major Sussex town or city.

The trust’s figures also show that 4,412 more three day emergency food supplies were given to children in July and August 2016 than in the previous two months.

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67,506 three day emergency food supplies were provided for children by The Trussell Trust’s foodbank network in July and August 2016 compared to 63,094 in May and June 2016.

Between July and August 2016, of all 67, 506 three day emergency food supplies from The Trussell Trust foodbank network that went to children:

- 27% went to 0-4 year olds

- 47% went to 5-11 year olds

- 21% went to 12-16 year olds

- 5% went to children for whom their age was not known

This summer Trussell Trust says that foodbanks across the UK will be working to offer extra help to families struggling this summer.

At least 60 foodbanks in The Trussell Trust’s network will be providing additional services to families struggling during the holiday, and 24 of these will run a Trussell Trust Holiday Club.

The Holiday Clubs project, supported by the Innocent Foundation, has been designed for both children and parents to provide families with fun learning activities and a hot nutritious meal.

Trained volunteers talk with parents to understand why they are struggling this summer and signpost families onto relevant local services or organisations to provide further support.

The new age insights from The Trussell Trust’s data collection system also reveal the percentage of primary school children helped by foodbanks is consistently high all-year round (46% of all children referred between April 2016 and March 2017 were between 5-11), highlighting the need for support throughout the year, not only in the holidays.

Foodbanks will continue to work all-year round to establish strong working relationships with local agencies to ensure families in need can be referred to the foodbank for emergency food and support.

Samantha Stapley, Operations Manager for England at The Trussell Trust, said: “Over a third of all the food distributed by foodbanks in our network consistently goes to children, but these new figures show 5 to 11 year-olds are more likely than other children to receive a foodbank’s help.

“This highlights just how close to crisis many families are living. We can all make a difference – checking which food your local foodbank is running low on and donating to make sure emergency food is available when people are referred to help is a simple and effective way to get involved. You could be helping a family that lives on your street.

“As a nation we also must address the reasons why families with children are referred to foodbanks in the first place. We welcome the Government’s decision to maintain free school lunches for children during term time – the next step must be to help families during the holidays.

“Foodbanks are doing more than ever before but voluntary organisations alone cannot stop primary school children facing hunger. We are keen to share our insights with the new Government alongside other charities to inform a long-term co-ordinated solution to stop families falling into crisis.”

The new figures come as The Trussell Trust launches its national Summer Appeal and encourages people to donate to their local foodbank as the school holidays start.

Everyone can help make a difference – a donation to The Trussell Trust’s Summer Appeal will help develop projects like Holiday Clubs, which help foodbanks provide additional support to people and prevent them needing a foodbank in the future, and a food donation to a local foodbank will go to someone referred for emergency help.

For more information visit www.trusselltrust.org/summer-appeal.