Some 1,271 adults and children received three days’ emergency food and support from Hailsham Foodbank in the last 12 months, a 16 per cent rise on numbers helped in the previous financial year.
And the top three reasons for foodbank referral were low income 31 per cent, benefit delays 25 per cent and benefit changes 15 per cent.
The figures have been released by the Trussell Trust, which runs foodbanks across the area. Families are referred to foodbanks by professionals such as social workers, health visitors or school liaison officers and at Hailsham Foodbak last year of the 1,271 people given three days’ emergency food, 472 were children.
The year before 1,096 people were helped.
As well as providing emergency food, Hailsham Foodbank also provides essentials like washing powder, nappies and hygiene products where possible to families who are struggling, as well as signposting them to other services in the local area.
Many foodbanks are now partnering with other agencies to provide additional services such as welfare advice, budgeting help and debt support at the foodbank itself, helping people to break out of crisis.
Last year local people donated 13,482 kg of food to Hailsham Foodbank, and more than 50 volunteered.
Bosses say local schools, businesses and faith groups have provided vital support to the foodbank, enabling them to give three days’ nutritionally balanced food and support to people in crisis.
Trussell Trust UK Foodbank director Adrian Curtis said, “Despite welcome signs of economic recovery, hunger continues to affect significant numbers of men, women and children in the UK today. It’s difficult to be sure of the full extent of the problem as Trussell Trust figures don’t include people who are helped by other food charities or those who feel too ashamed to seek help.
“Trussell Trust foodbanks are increasingly hosting additional services like debt counselling and welfare advice at our foodbanks, which is helping more people out of crisis.
“The Trussell Trust’s latest figures highlight how vital it is that we all work to prevent and relieve hunger in the UK. It’s crucial that we listen to the experiences of people using foodbanks to truly understand the nature of the problems they face; what people who have gone hungry have to say holds the key to finding the solution.”
Nationally the latest figures published by the Trussell Trust show more than one million people have received at least three days’ emergency food from the charity’s foodbanks in the last 12 months, more than in any previous year. The data indicates that despite signs of economic recovery, the numbers of people turning to foodbanks continues to grow.
Some 1,084,604 people – including 396,997 children – received three days’ food from Trussell Trust’s network of more than 400 foodbanks in 2014/15, compared with 913,138 in 2013/14 – an increase of 19 per cent.