Demand for help from foodbank increases by 30 per cent in a year

Godmanchester foodbank has seen a rise in demand for the service in the last year

Godmanchester foodbank has seen a rise in demand for the service in the last year - Credit: Archant

Godmanchester foodbank will be collecting donations later this week as new figures revealed demand for the service had increased by almost a third.

The foodbank, based at Godmanchester Baptist Church, helped more than 3,000 people in 2018-19, with 1,323 of those children, a 30 per cent increase on the year before - and organisers say that can't see demand falling in the immediate future.

Volunteers distributed 42.5 tonnes of food from June 2018-June 2019 and helpers say the increase is due in part to the rising cost of living.

Peter Levitt, administrator at Godmanchester Foodbank, said: "There are many different reasons why we are seeing an increase in demand for the service. The biggest reason that we have found is low income. Lots of families in the area are working hard for their money, but it is not enough. We are seeing more and more people struggling, as rent, gas, electric and Council Tax is increasing.

"Other reasons we have found include issues with benefits and not knowing how they can sort it, long-term illnesses, which can really hit people finically, and people who are in debt and trying to pay off their payments.

"We are simply seeing more people who are in need."

The foodbank works on a referral system, where people are given vouchers which can be exchange for goods.

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However, Mr Levitt said that another issue is that people aren't sure where they can get vouchers from, which is leading to them coming directly to the foodbank.

Healthcare professionals, the Citizens Advice Bureaux, housing associations, schools and the Huntingdon Area Money Advice group can all give out vouchers, but Mr Levitt said that he has seen an increase in people turning up to the foodbank directly.

He said volunteers at the group are able to point people in need in the right direction, and no-one is turned away.

The foodbank will be holding an extra collection this week, at Tesco Extra Sapley, on Thursday and Friday, in an effort to keep up with the increasing demand.

Mr Levitt said: "The foodbank relies on the many generous donations made by local people and this summer collection is important to keep up our stocks so that we can continue to assist local people throughout the summer."


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