New figures show the scale of the cost-of-living crisis on the communities our food redistribution work supports.
Rising food and fuel costs are impacting communities across the country. Now the charities and community groups we redistribute food to across Lancashire and Cumbria are seeing a huge rise in need.
A survey by FareShare – who we work in partnership with to run our Food Redistribution Centre – found:
> 79% of charities and community groups have seen a higher demand for food and services
> 29% say demand has more than doubled
> 73% are seeing new people accessing support for the first time – this includes people in work (68%), families with children (60%) and retired people (52%)
> 82% of people are accessing support to cope with the rising cost of food
> 71% of people need support due to rising energy bills
> 47% said it was due to low pay jobs
FareShare spoke to member groups (known as CFMs, Community Food Members) across the country to understand the rising, or changing, need. It asked to what extent members have been impacted by the cost-of-living crisis – with 41% saying “severely affected”; what that affect has been, and what difference this has created for their services – with 63% saying communities need “an increased level of support”.
For our members across Lancashire and Cumbria – 31 of whom responded to the national survey – the increased need is already impacting their services.
“It’s exactly what it says on the TV,” said Paul Caddy, who runs Wesley’s Café and Food Larder in St Annes. “The cost-of-living has risen so those who were on the breadline are now well below it. The need has intensified.”
“We’re expecting numbers will go up this winter,” said Jen Tidy, of New Day Church Food Hub in South Ribble. “It’s not going to be an easy time. We’re trying to prepare ourselves, thinking about how else we can help people by working with other agencies.”
“The double whammy of Covid and now the cost-of-living crisis means people are really feeling it,” said Ian ‘Cally’ Kershaw-Calvert, of South East Blackburn Food Hub.
Of those surveyed nationally, 87% said they are concerned the impact of the cost-of-living crisis will be bigger than that of the coronavirus pandemic.
Laura Hodson, Food Redistribution Centre Manager, said: “These are startling figures but, unfortunately, not surprising given the feedback we’ve had from our members in recent weeks. We know that the need is rising so we are working hard to source as much extra food as possible. This includes utilising our new wagon and the efforts of our incredible volunteers.
“Additional support from donors and those in the food retail supply chain is always welcome too.
“As we always say – for as long as the need exists, we will be here to support communities.”
To support our food redistribution work, make a donation here.