THERE has been a huge increase in the number of people needing emergency food parcels in Cirencester, it has been revealed.

According to statistics released by the Trussell Trust, an organisation that runs more than 400 foodbanks across the UK, Cirencester Foodbank provided 3,851 three-day emergency food parcels to people between April 2018 to March 2019.

This was an increase of 30 per cent on the same period last year.

Also, the Foodbank has revealed that 1,869 of these parcels went to children.

The national picture from the Trussell Trust shows a 19 per cent increase in the distribution of emergency three-day food supplies to people in crisis, with 1.6million delivered – and more than half a million to children.

Cirencester Foodbank, which opened in 2012, operates from Cirencester Ashcroft Church, Tetbury St Mary’s Community Centre and Fairford Community Centre.

The local community donated 31 tonnes of food to the Foodbank between April 2018 and March 2019.

Cirencester Foodbank manager Rachel Brindley is backing calls from the Trussell Trust to ensure the benefits system is able to protect people from poverty.

She highlighted the changes to Universal Credit as a key factor in the rise in foodbank demand, as emergency food and support is needed by people who are waiting at least five-weeks for a first Universal Credit payment.

She said: “No one in Cirencester, Fairford or Tetbury 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 – our benefits system is supposed to protect us all from being swept into poverty.

“Universal Credit should be part of the solution but currently the five week wait is leaving many without enough money to cover the basics. This isn’t right.

“Until we reach a future where food banks are no longer needed, we’ll continue to provide vital support when it matters most.”

Reverend for Cirencester Ashcroft Church, James Taylor, said: “Sadly we see an increase especially when the school holidays are on and we get a lot of families coming in.

“Benefits changes haven’t helped – Universal Credit and the bedroom tax when that came in. Many people are in work but still cannot pay for the necessities.”

Rachel added: “We’re dedicated to ensuring that people in our community without enough money for food are able to access emergency support.

“Our vital work in the community has only been possible in the last year because of the incredible generosity shown by local people in donating food, time and funds.”


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