Shock as demand for emergency food parcels doubles in a year at Waveney Foodbank
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press � 2016
To outsiders, it seems like an affulent area where most people live comfortably in what is often rated as one of the best places to live in the country.
But shocking figures today show the hidden troubles of families living on the breadline as a foodbank revealed its demand for emergency food has doubled in a year.
Waveney Foodbank - covering Diss, Long Stratton, Hales, Eye and Beccles - has seen the demand for emergency food rise 560pc since it opened in 2012.
Between April 2015 and April 2016 the centre provided 10,000 meals, 4,200 of which went to children.
From April 2016 onwards the centre has provided 19-tonnes of food, which equates to 20,000 meals - of which 40pc has gone to families with children or people under the age of 18.
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Mathew Scade, Waveney Foodbank operations manager, said on average 60pc of the people who use the foodbank are aged between 30 and 60 years of age.
'When we opened five years ago we helped 300 people and we wondered if there was a need for a foodbank,' he said.
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'But each year since then our figures have doubled.'
When asked what he thought the main reasons for the past year's increase, Mr Scade immediately said the introduction of Universal Credit and delays in benefit payments.
Although many may assume South Norfolk to be affluent, Mr Scade said many in families in the area work in 'unskilled labour' and earn low wages.
'All it can take is for one large bill to push people over the edge and suddenly they can't afford their rent or food,' he explained.
Waveney Foodbank is not alone in seeing an increase in demand.
Figures from the Trussell Trust reveal that in 2011-2012, 12,126 three-day emergency food supplies were given to people in crisis within the East of England.
In 2015-2016, this figure has increased by more than 740pc to 102,873.
The Trussell Trust recently launched a Mother's Day appeal to encourage people to donate sanitary products as well as food.
For more information about the charity, visit www.waveney.foodbank.org.uk