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Food bank reliance increasing

Food bank reliance increasing

Friday 23 February 2024

Food bank reliance increasing

Friday 23 February 2024


More people are asking for more frequent support from the Guernsey Welfare food bank.

The charity has said the number of people using the food bank - based in Trinity Square - did not increase by much between 2022 and 2023, but the number of people asking for help on repeated occasions did.

The charity does not allow service users to visit the food bank more than once per month though, offering other forms of help as well as simply giving out food parcels.

During 2022 the food bank on Upper Mansell Street saw 692 people, increasing by 8 to 700 people last year. 

There was a slighter larger increase in service user numbers during December - up from 492 people in 2022 to 526 in 2023. 

That had been expected, with the charity telling Express early in December that it was expecting 500+ visitors before the food bank closed ahead of Christmas.

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Pictured: Guernsey Welfare warned in December that increasing numbers were using its food bank. In December alone it helped 526 people - an increase on previous years. 

Of the 700 people using the food bank throughout 2023, a trend was noticed with those seeking help asking to visit it more frequently. 

Comparing 2022 - when the food bank received a total of 2,474 requests for help - and 2023, when it received 3,190 requests for help - there was an almost 30% increase in demand. 

The charity also said that during 2022 it received an average of 48 visits from service users each week, while in 2023 that jumped to 61, a 27% increase.

The charity was also keen to explain that while it discourages reliance on the food bank with visits limited to once per month, it offers additional services alongside the food bank such as its 'out of date' or 'best before' baskets which are topped up with goods from local shops and often include fruit and items which can be frozen such as bread. 

A spokesperson for the charity said it was clear why it was seeing more people asking to use the food bank with most service users citing the same reasons. 

"The statistics and our conversations with clients show us that those who are finding things difficult struggled even more last year, most quoting the increase in food and electricity prices as their need to visit though high rents and increases in mortgage interest rates were also cited as reasons for visiting." they said.

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Pictured: Alongside the food bank, Guernsey Welfare distributes food which may have reached its sell by date but is still within its 'best before' era. 

To prevent anyone becoming dependent on the food bank, and to encourage people to empower themselves via other means of support it offers, the charity does not allow anyone to use it more than once per month. 

Lifeskills, including cooking and budgeting, along with signposting to other support services, is used along with other methods of helping in the long term rather than short term.

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