Nearly 5000 emergency food packages handed out in Doncaster

Mark Snelson, manager of the Doncaster Foodbank.
Mark Snelson, manager of the Doncaster Foodbank.

Nearly 5000 emergency food packages were handed out in Doncaster alone last year as figures revealed demand for foodbanks is rising sharply.

The Doncaster Foodbank in Thorne Road gave out 4700 three-day emergency food hampers between April 2017 and March this year - 500 more than the previous year. This included 1540 which went to children.

This also comes after it was revealed that 23, 813 emergency packages, including 8617 going to children, were handed out across South Yorkshire in the same period This was more than 2000 higher than the previous 12 months.

The figures were released by the Trussell Trust and the charity said there has been a significant increase in demand at their foodbanks in areas where Universal Credit has been rolled out.

The Government introduced UC as a way of simplifying the system by rolling several different benefits into a single monthly payment. But the trust said many people are experiencing delays in receiving payments, pushing them into financial difficulty and the use of foodbanks.

Mark Snelson, manager of the Doncaster Foodbank, said this issue has affected people in the town.

He added: "No-one in Doncaster should need a foodbank’s help and we want to see an end to local people needing emergency food at all. It doesn’t have to be this way - with a benefits system that catches people before they fall into crisis, and secure work that provides people with enough money to cover the cost of essentials, this is possible.

"But until that time, we’ll continue to provide vital support when it matters most - we’re dedicated to ensuring that people in our community with no money for food are able to access emergency support, and that has only been possible in the last year because of the incredible generosity shown by local people in donating food, time and funds.”

Across Yorkshire and the Humber 77, 411 food parcels were given out which was a 12 per cent increase on the previous year. 27, 524 of these went to children.

The most common reasons for referrals to foodbanks were 'benefit delays' (27 per cent) and 'low income' (25 per cent).

Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, said it is "vital" the country gets the Universal Credit system right.

A government spokesman said ministers "remain determined to ensure that people joining universal credit don’t face hardship."

Late last year the Government announced 'significant improvements' to the system.