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More are forced to rely on Foodbank
THIS year has been the busiest yet for Swindon Foodbank as numbers of families and individuals seeking parcels soared.
There was a 20 per cent increase in the numbers coming forward for food compared to last year, with many clients sharing concerns that other means of help would be closed over the Christmas period.
Foodbank project manager David Hartridge said: “It’s been very, very busy.
“The greatest concern from our clients has been that other avenues they might go through for help may be closed down over the Christmas period so they have been coming to us to make sure they have enough provision for the next week or so.”
But David has been impressed with the donations which have continued to pour in.
He said: “What has really struck me is how people have continued to donate, and not just with food that we receive throughout the year, but also festive goodies, such as chocolates and Christmas cakes and Christmas puddings.”
David is concerned that the demand will not let up through 2014 as a result of Government cut-backs and changes in benefits.
He said: “Lots of people are worried about their benefit payments, not because they have been stopped but because they don’t know when they are going to receive their money.”
“Swindon Foodbank has been running for seven or eight years but we have seen a lot more people coming to us in the past few years.
“Everyone who has come in has been very anxious and a bit embarrassed about seeking help because it’s a bit of an indictment that in the 21st century we still have a Foodbank.
“But between 120 and 150 people are coming in each week.
“A lot of these are families but there are also single men, single women and couples, all seeking help.”
Foodbanks around the country helped up to 60,000 people in the run up to Christmas, three times as many as last year.
Molly Hodson, a spokes-man for the Trussell Trust which runs the Foodbank Network, said: “This year looked particularly difficult for people across Swindon and the UK. “Lots of people are struggling with the rise costs and such and the loss of work and changes to benefits.
“Many families really, really struggled to put food on their tables at all.
“Foodbanks in Swindon and the UK worked very hard to meet the demand to try to make sure that nobody went hungry this Christmas.”
The Foodbank will re-open on Monday, December 30. For more information visit www.swindonfoodbank.co.uk or call 07932 108732.
Where to drop off donations
- The Distribution Centre in St Aldhelm’s Centre from 2.30pm to 4.30pm on Thursdays and Fridays
- Swindon Restore, St Johns Church Hall in Whitbourne Avenue, every day from 10am to 4pm
- Hairworks, in Freshbrook Village Centre
- Freshbrook Evangelical Church in Worsley Road on Mondays and Tuesdays from 9am to 12pm
- Natwest Bank in Commercial Road
- Two’s Company in High Street, Highworth
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