Nottingham’s biggest food bank is expecting its busiest ever winter, amid reports that usage across the region is up 25 per cent.
The Bestwood and Bulwell food bank has had a fruitful harvest season in the last month but admits that the demand that comes with the biggest time of the year may stretch resources.
29,602 three-day emergency food packages were given out between April and September, a 25 per cent increase on last years approximate figure of 22,200 during the same period, a Trussell Trust report says.
The report goes on to say: “The charity is concerned the situation will worsen in the months leading to Christmas when demand for food traditionally spikes, and when the number of food banks in areas of full Universal Credit service will triple.”
The winter period is particularly strenuous on food banks as gas and electric bills increase and parents and guardians have to take time off work during the holidays – a hindrance on the household income.
“record amounts of food going out” – Nigel Webster
But the Bestwood and Bulwell food bank says it is well prepared for the influx in users of their services.
Nigel Webster, the food banks manager, said: “We will have record amounts of food going out so whilst we do have a tremendous amount of donations, the demand on us is really heavy as well and will continue across Christmas and into the new year.
“The winter always brings huge pressures on food banks as struggling families and individuals have to cope with the onset of the winter bills. Many people are forced into situations of do they heat or do they heat, in other words do they afford to pay their gas and electric bills or put food on the table.”