Thenumber of people needing food welfare in Glenrothes has soared to unprecedented levels – and way above the Fife average, according to new statistics.
Volunteers at the Glenrothes facility have experienced a huge 29 per cent increase in referrals this year as the number of people in the town finding themselves unable to provide enough food to eat continues to spiral.
Between April and September 2015, foodbanks across Fife, on average, saw a 17 per cent increase in the number of cases coming to them because of food poverty.
Jilly Gould, manager of the Glenrothes facility, told the Gazette the most worrying aspect of the increase is the sharp rise in working families and the number of children now needing assistance to ensure they don’t go hungry.
“Sadly, we are seeing more working parents coming to use for help because they are struggling to cope,” said Jilly. “These are hard-working people who, because of low income and now being affected by changes in welfare reform legislation and tax credits, are struggling to make ends meet.
“Many have children and it’s proving a desperate situation for many.
“They come to us feeling humiliated and embarrassed that, despite being in work, they are still needing help to provide enough basic food for themselves and their families.”
Jilly confirmed the vast majority of people now being referred to Glenrothes foodbank are because of delays or sanctions to benefits.
And the problem is all encompassing, with no one single age group dominating.
With a larger new foodbank now open at Caledonia House, Saltire Centre, close to to the original facility, and boasting a cafe and clothing facility, Jilly said they are managing to cope with the increased numbers but admits she thinks the demand will continue to grow into the new year.
“The public donations have been fantastic and we urge people to continue doing so, if they can possibly can.
“We especially need toiletries, jams, coffee, tinned meat and fruit and pet food.”
Glenrothes and Central Fife MP Peter Grant MP has expressed his shock at at recently-released Trussell Trust statistics showing that, between April and September, Glenrothes and Levenmouth foodbanks gave 3012 three-day emergency food supplies, of which 977 were given to children.
“It is shocking that there are so many families struggling to feed their children, and is a sad indictment of our society and of this Government’s policies,” he said.
“The recent u-turn on cuts to tax credits demonstrates that this government can change these damaging and unnecessary policies and protect the most vulnerable in our community.”
For more information about Glenrothes foodbank, go to firstname.lastname@example.org