Thousand claim emergency food in the past year in Hailsham

Food Bank, George Street, Hailsham
Food Bank, George Street, Hailsham

More than 1,000 adults and children have received three days’ emergency food and support from Hailsham foodbank in the past 12 months.

The Trussell Trust, which runs the foodbank, claimed in a report that life got worse for the poorest in 2013/14 with more people being referred to them than ever before.

The Trust said static incomes, rising living costs, low pay, under employment and problems with welfare are significant factors of the increased demand on foodbanks.

Julia Coates, Hailsham Foodbank Manager, said 1,096 used the foodbank last year. She said: “We’re seeing growing numbers turning to Hailsham foodbank for help, which shouldn’t be happening in the seventh richest country in the world. But the reality is that life is very difficult for people on low incomes at the moment, and increasing numbers are struggling to make ends meet and hitting a crisis where they cannot afford food.

“We don’t think anyone should have to go hungry, which is why we’re so grateful for the incredible generosity of local people in donating food, funds and time to stop local hunger.”

Last year people donated 11,486kg of food to Hailsham foodbank and more than 50 people volunteered.

From the 1,096 people given emergency food, 367 were children.

The Trussel Trust’s chairman, Chris Mould, said: “It is shocking that we are seeing rising numbers of people need to turn to foodbanks in 21st century Britain. But perhaps most worryingly of all is that Trussel Trust foodbank figures are just the tip of the iceberg of UK food poverty, it doesn’t include those helped by other emergency food providers, those living in towns where there is no foodbank, people who are too ashamed to seek help or the large number of people who are only just coping by eating less and buying cheap food.”

Nationally 913,138 people were helped by foodbanks in 2013/14 compared to 61,468 in 2010/11. Around 30per cent were helped because of benefit delays, 20.29 per cent because of low income and 16.97 per cent because of benefit changes.

The situation sparked 36 Anglican bishops and more than 600 leaders to call for Government action on food poverty.

Three church leaders who have been fasting for 40 days in solidarity with people facing hunger in the UK, will deliver a letter about the situation to the three main party leaders. Mr Mould added: “We are encouraged there is a growing public concern over the problem of UK hunger. Faith leaders, academics, charities and MPs are all standing up to say hunger is not acceptable in Britain, and that is what gives us hope for change.”