Urgent plea to help Kirkcaldy Foodbank

Locals are being urged to support Kirkcaldy Foodbank after demand doubled in just 12 months. Pic: Michael Gillen.
Locals are being urged to support Kirkcaldy Foodbank after demand doubled in just 12 months. Pic: Michael Gillen.

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has made an urgent plea to the public to support the town’s foodbank after it emerged the amount of people needing help has doubled in the last year.

A year ago, 400 people visited the foodbank monthly.

This increased to 600 a month in November last year and now May’s figures show the number of people coming to Kirkcaldy Foodbank passed 800 visits per month for the first time as demand on the charity to help those suffering food povery continues to spiral.

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The former Prime Minister and town MP has called on both the public and local businesses to dig deep to help ease the crisis.

With demand continuing to increase month on month, volunteers at the Kirkcaldy foodbank say they need £15,000 just keep the vital lifeline open in order to continue to meet the needs of those going hungry in the Kirkcaldy area.

Official figures for May this year confirm the number of food parcels given out across the town was the highest ever.

And with Kirkcaldy officially now confirmed as having the third worst child poverty rate in Scotland according to a recent report by End Child Poverty Coalition (ECPC), many of of those seeking urgent support are children.

Kirkcaldy East, which takes in the likes of Gallatown, Smeaton and Dysart, currently has 1075 children living below the poverty line.

At present 38.7 per cent of children are living in poverty, the third worst area in the country and worst in Scotland outside Glasgow.

The roll out of the Universal Credit benefit system has been blamed for much of the rise.

Joyce Leggate, foodbank chairman, told the Press she has seen the situation get gradually worse in recent months.

She said: “Sadly, the demand for Kirkcaldy Foodbank continues to increase month on month and, while the local community continues to give generously by donating goods to the foodbank, we now find we are having to spend around £8000 every month to meet the shortfall in donations.

“We need to increase our income accordingly and I am appealing to the local business community to support us in this in these times of relentless austerity.”

In March, at a gathering of business leaders and local politicians at Kirkcaldy town House, Mr Brown called upon the business community to help stem the tide of poverty now firmly entrenched in parts of the town.

“Kirkcaldy Foodbank is unique because it is staffed entirely by volunteers who selflessly give of their time and energy to help those in our community at greatest risk,” he said.

“The need is now immediate, the funding requirements urgent, the poverty unacceptable.

“We must be able to find some money to help those in greatest need who have tried their hardest – most are in work – but cannot make ends meet and I know all decent-minded people will do what they can to help.

“This is a plea to businesses and local people to contribute what they can afford to raise the money now.”