Sheffield foodbank reveals how many emergency parcels they handed out as stark regional figures are released

More than 1,500 emergency parcels were handed out at a single Sheffield foodbank in just one year.

By Lee Peace
Thursday, 25 April, 2019, 09:38

Burngreave Foodbank provided 1599 three day emergency food parcels to people in 2018/19.

Emma Revie, chief executive officer of the Trussell Trust.

This fed 3429 people in total and about a third of these – 1129 – were children.

The foodbank is run by the Trussell Trust charity – which today released wider figures showing the regional and national picture.

The trust said 35, 750 three-day emergency food parcels were distributed from their foodbanks across the Sheffield City Region – which includes all of South Yorkshire, plus parts of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire – in 2018/19.

Perhaps most alarmingly, the data showed 12,155 packages – about a third – were handed out to children.

Burngreave Foodbank.

The charity, which operates seven foodbanks across South Yorkshire, claimed demand for food parcels has risen nationally since the Government rolled out the Universal Credit benefits system.

The charity said some people are having to wait up to five weeks for a first payment, pushing them into financial difficulty and the use of foodbanks. The Department for Work and Pensions, however, disputed this claim.

Rachel Snow, Burngreave Foodbank manager, said: “No one in this city should need a foodbank’s help and we want to see an end to local people needing emergency food at all.

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“The figures from Burngreave Foodbank are a 11.53 per cent increase on the same period last year.

“The charity believes the local increase is due to people struggling with continued issues with benefit payments particularly issues with Universal Credit such as the five-week wait, as well as insecure work, closure of local charities offering crisis support, reduction in available local government support.”

The Sheffield City Region figures showed a significant rise when compared to the year before in which 30, 950 parcels were handed out, including 10, 929 to children.

The Government started phasing in Universal Credit in 2013 as a way of simplifying the system by rolling several different benefits into a single monthly payment.

In a statement, the Department for Work and Pensions said it is “not true” people need to wait five weeks for their first payment as it is available to claimants on “day one.”

The statement added: “It also cannot be claimed that Universal Credit is driving the overall use of foodbanks or that benefit changes and delays are driving growth.

“The Trust’s own analysis shows a substantial fall in the share of parcels being issued due to benefit payment delays. The best route out of poverty is to help people into sustainable employment which, with record employment, we are doing.

“For those who need a safety net we have invested £10 billion into Universal Credit since 2016 alone, confirmed the benefits freeze will end next year and made changes to make Universal Credit fairer for women and families.”