North West food banks are facing a tsunami of need

The North West’s food banks have given out the most emergency food parcels outside of London over the past six months. 

Food banks are braced for their hardest winter yet according to research by the Trussell Trust which found 151,424 emergency food parcels had been given out in the North West since April 2022.

A 72% increase compared to the same period five years ago, the Trussell Trust has called the demand amid the cost of living crisis a tsunami of need. 

Emma Revie, chief executive at the Trussell Trust, said: “These new statistics show that, even in summer months, people are struggling to afford the essentials and we are expecting that this winter will be the hardest yet for food banks and the people they support. That is not right. 

“We are calling for the Prime Minister to act decisively in next week’s budget. We urge the UK government to realise their commitment of supporting people on the lowest income with a broad package of support.” 

The Trussell Trust is also asking for benefits to rise with inflation as well as a long-term support plan to protect overall social security.

From April to September, over 41,000 people in the North West were forced to use food banks for the first time, an increase of 49% from last year.

Nearly 16,000 more children received emergency food packages than last year.

The Fallowfield and Withington Foodbank has seen a 42% rise in demand over the past four months- the number of people receiving emergency food has risen by 86% in the area. 

Nick Prescott, assistant project manager for Fallowfield and Withington Foodbank, said: “It almost feels exponential. The nature of the crisis is much worse than we’ve seen. The welfare system is much harder to navigate and, alongside the cost of living crisis, we’re just picking up more and more people our system is designed to fail.

“We do the best we can but, at the end of the day, all we can do is give people a bag of food so they’re not hungry. But that doesn’t solve the fact that you need to pay your rent, pay your bills, need to find clothes and other essentials. It would be much better if people had the dignity of having the money in their pockets that they deserve

“There is so much possibility of solving these issues so, right now, it’s tough, emotional and overwhelming because you know these people and know how they’re struggling.”

The North West authorities which gave out the most emergency food packages were Manchester, Cheshire Wester and Chester, Liverpool, Blackburn with Darwen and Stockport.

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