There has been a huge rise in food bank usage in Hackney and Lewisham over the last year.
According to the statistics published by the Trussel Trust, the food bank usage in the year from April 2018 to March 2019 was the highest it has ever been since the charity opened in 1997.
In Hackney, the amount of three-day emergency food supplies increased by 44 per cent from April 2018 to March 2019, compared to the previous year.
In total, 6,112 of these emergency parcels were given to people struggling for food.
Lewisham has also been hit with a highly increased reliance on food banks as the usage has gone up by 20 per cent in the year of April 2018 to March 2019.
There were 7,816 three-day emergency food supply parcels given out across the borough over that period of time.
Lewisham Food Bank Chief Operating Officer, Carol Bostridge, told Eastlondonlines: “At Lewisham Foodbank we have seen a 20 per cent increase in usage compared with last year. The reasons for this include; people struggling with low pay and increased bills, people waiting too long for Universal Credit, people struggling to get help due to online difficulties.”
“We are glad we can help and but sad that so many people need our help. It was good to have a visit from the Mayor of Lewisham so he could see the problems first hand. People continue to be generous with their donations but we are looking for more donors to help us meet the increased need,” she added.
Lewisham Mayor, Damien Egan, visited Forest Hill Food Bank last month and announced new plans to collect more food to help with the increased demand. There are now new collection points for Lewisham Food Bank across the borough in council buildings like the local libraries and Lewisham Town Hall.
In response to the increased food bank usage, Egan told London News Online: “Austerity is hitting Lewisham hard. The Tory government has presided over a shocking rise of food bank use and the roll-out of Universal Credit is making it even harder for people to make ends meet.”
“However, by working closely with our voluntary and community sector, we can provide a lifeline for our most vulnerable residents,” he added.