Demand is rising at area’s foodbank

Project Manager for East Suffolk Foodbank Philip Riley in the Lowestoft store.

Project Manager for East Suffolk Foodbank Philip Riley in the Lowestoft store. - Credit: Archant © 2012

Thousands of families and individuals in crisis have been supported as part of a foodbank's 'busiest year yet'.

East Suffolk Foodbank - based at Gunton Baptist Church and run in partnership with neighbouring churches - said it had seen a major increase in demand since last April, with a 60 per cent rise in the number of family boxes going out on the previous year.

In the six months prior to that, the charity - which is part of the Trussell Trust network - had given out 76 family boxes.

'Since April (2015) we have given out more than 130 – so you can see the increase in family boxes we've distributed,' said Phil Riley, project manager at the East Suffolk Foodbank.

'That is our biggest concern – as families are coming to us more than they ever used to.

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'And with the changes in legislation in the pipeline for next April, families could be even more worse hit – particularly with the child tax benefits and cap on benefits.'

The foodbank - which covers drop-ins in Lowestoft, Beccles, Halesworth and Kessingland with support also offered in rural areas in Aldeburgh, Leiston, Saxmundham, Sole Bay and Framlingham - helped more than 5,000 people in 2015, but had been well-supported by the public, Mr Riley said.

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'We have been blessed by a very generous public who have donated more than 40 tonnes over the last 12 months,' he said. 'That is an enormous amount. I think people are more aware of foodbanks now, and more and more people know people who have used the foodbank.'

Mr Riley said this was a 30 per cent increase on the previous year – when 29 to 30 tonnes had been donated. 'That is quite a substantial number,' he admitted.

He also paid tribute to the foodbank's 'small army' of 350 volunteers.

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