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EXCLUSIVE: 27k people expected to use a foodbank for Christmas dinner

Fri 22 Dec 2017
By Alex Williams

Nearly 27,000 people across the UK are expected to rely on a Christian foodbank to put a meal on the table on Christmas Day this year, it has been claimed.

Premier can exclusively reveal that the country's largest foodbank operator expects to see a 13 per-cent rise in demand for emergency provisions on Christmas Day, compared with last year.

Foodbank - copyright Jeff Blackler/REX

 

Chief Executive of the Trussell Trust, Mark Ward said: "We've been trying to help to combat this problem for a very long time now and, for various different reasons, the number of people that need help continues to rise."

In excess of 23,500 people collected a three-day food parcel from the Christian charity between 22nd and 24th December last year.

Trussell Trust

Earlier this year, bosses named the roll out of Universal Credit as a key factor fuelling the growing demand for foodbank use - a claim the Government challenged, saying it was unfair to attribute the trend to a single issue.

Redundancy, the loss of a loved one, welfare problems and an unexpected bill are all commonly-cited reasons for why people turn to foodbanks.

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Founder of the Hammersmith and Fulham Foodbank, Daphine Aikens told Premier some clients would be left in desperate situations when they arrive.

She said: "Some people do say that they would commit a crime [if they could not access a foodbank].

"Others report that they will try to stay warm and sleep through the hunger pains, they will borrow, they will just go without."

Trussell Trust

 

Demand for foodbanks rises significantly during the winter months, when parents face extra heating and child costs - as well as pressures to splash out on Christmas gifts.

Use last December stood at 46 per-cent above average levels.

PA Wire

 

Explaining why, Mark Ward said: "We often have, as we've had during the last few days, inclement weather which then causes people to need more fuel.

"If you're a family where your children get a free school lunch and breakfast at school, you've then get to step in."

Trussell Trust

 

Trussell Trust volunteers try to offer Christmas cheer for struggling families, by adding chocolates and presents to the usually supplies.

Daphine Aikens explained: "We see so many tears but also a lot of joy and excitement.

"Mum and dad might be shedding some tears at knowing that their kids are going to have Christmas presents but the children are all really excited and happy."

Click here to listen to a special report by Premier's Alex Williams:

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