Revealed: Foodbank use in east England is at record levels

Members of the Waveney Foodbank team. Left to right: Graham Reardon, Carole Hunt, Rosemary Adams, Ma

Members of the Waveney Foodbank team. Left to right: Graham Reardon, Carole Hunt, Rosemary Adams, Matthew Scade and Phil Donovan. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

Foodbank use in this region has increased by 11pc over three years, figures released by a leading charity have revealed.

During the financial year 2013/14 the Trussell Trust, which has 424 foodbanks across Britain, provided 91,420 units of three-day emergency food supplies in east England.

This has increased to 102,873 for 2015/16.

Despite the rise, emergency supply in Norfolk has declined by 2,101 on last year's figures to 18,325 - of which 6,344 units went to children.

In Suffolk supplies increased from 5,261 in 2014/15 to 6,070 in 2015/16.

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Across Britain foodbank use remains at record levels, with more than 1.1 million units of emergency supplies given out – a 2pc increase over the past year.

More than 415,866 went to children, while on average people were referred to food banks twice in the past year.

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Almost half of food banks said there had been an increase in the number of people needing emergency supplies because of changes or delays to benefits, and other problems included low wages, high living costs and sickness.

David McAuley, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, said: 'Today's figures on national foodbank use prove that the numbers of people hitting a crisis where they cannot afford to buy food are still far too high. One million three-day food supplies given out by our foodbanks every year is one million too many. This must not become the new normal.

'Reducing UK hunger will require a collective effort from the voluntary sector, government, department for work and pensions, businesses and the public.

'And The Trussell Trust is keen to work with all these groups to find solutions that stop so many people needing foodbanks in future.'

More than 90pc of food given out by Trussell Trust foodbanks is donated by the public. In 2015/16, 10,570 tonnes of food was given out to people in crisis.

The Waveney Foodbank have said over the past year they have received 27 tonnes of food donated by people and have provided 32,000 meals.

A new distribution centre based at Aylasham and Reepham Children's Centre demonstrates the demand for the service.

The Cromer and District Foodbank - which covers and area of 200 square miles and has distribution centres in Holt, Sheringham, Cromer, North Walsham and Stalham - already has a centre in Aylsham but it was felt having a centre at the children's centre would mean easier access for families who needed the service.

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