Call for donations as Cupar foodbank sees a huge rise in demand

MP Stephen Gethins with Tesco store manager Sharon Duchan and foodbank volunteers
MP Stephen Gethins with Tesco store manager Sharon Duchan and foodbank volunteers

There has been a shock rise in the number of people relying on the foodbank in Cupar.

The latest figures reveal a ‘‘horrifying’’ increase in demand for the town’s lifeline service.

Figures from the Trussell Trust, which operates 50 foodbanks throughout Scotland, showed that the number of people seeking help from the outlet in St Catherine Street has risen dramatically, with 395 referrals between April and September alone.

And it’s feared that with the onset of winter and tax benefit cuts due to come in the new year, things will get significantly worse.

Fiona Findlay, manager of the Cupar foodbank, said the three main reasons driving people to foodbanks are benefit delays, low income, and benefit changes.

She said: “Difficulties related to welfare benefits are still drive the majority of people to our foodbanks.”

But now, said Ms Findlay, one in five of those referred is on a low income and among that number is a growing body of people in low paid employment who are simply unable to make the pay cheque stretch far enough when crisis hits.

Stephen Gethins North East Fife MP said he was ‘horrified’ by the statistics and called on the Westminster government to re-think its benefits changes.

“That any government would consider further cuts to the incomes of the poorest families in our society in the face of such clear evidence of rising poverty is appalling – yet George Osborne is set to plough ahead with £12b more social security cuts,” he said.

“We will not let up on our opposition to these callous cuts. If they do go ahead we stand ready to protect low income households in Scotland.”

He added: “We are very fortunate to have The Trussell Trust running many of our foodbanks and a great team of volunteers who provide much needed help and support to those using the service.”

You can make donations directly to the foodbank in St Catherine Street or via the collection point at Tesco, which contributes to a 30 per cent financial top-up for the foodbank, effectively covering its running costs.

The constituency office of Stephen Gethins in Bonnygate, Cupar will also be supporting the foodbank appeal by holding a mulled wine and mince pies event on the day of the Christmas lights switch on - Saturday, November 28 - where, from noon, people will be able to drop off contributions to foodbank hampers - either food or a small gift - or make a financial donation.