‘Huge’ foodbank use increase in High Peak

Paul Bohan, High Peak Foodbank area coordinator.
Paul Bohan, High Peak Foodbank area coordinator.

High Peak Foodbank has reported a ‘huge increase’ in demand for emergency food parcels during the last few months - blaming the roll-out of Universal Credit.

The new benefit system - which lumps all payments into one - has been criticised over the five-week wait claimants face for payments after they are enrolled.

The news comes after recent figures from the End Child Poverty coalition showed 20 per cent of children in the High Peak were living in poverty.

Paul Bohan, area coordinator for the food bank, said food hunger worsens during school holidays - when some families cannot afford to feed their children as they normally receive free school meals.

He said: “Over the last few months we’ve noticed a huge increase in need for emergency food parcels - the reason for this rise seems to be the five weeks wait for Universal Credit.

“This problem is made worse during school holidays when free school meals are not available.

“The food bank has been supporting some of these with food parcels so that they do not go to school hungry.

High Peak MP Ruth George said: “So many welfare reforms are reducing people’s incomes - the four-year freeze on benefits, cuts to support for people with disabilities, the benefit cap and Universal Credit - it’s no surprise that demand for food banks is increasing.

“High Peak Food Bank do a fantastic job in supporting local people who are struggling to get by and it would be disastrous for poorer families if their services ended.”

The food bank’s funding ended recently and the charity is appealing for help to keep it going.

To donate visit highpeakfoodbank.co.uk.