Fife foodbank at risk of collapse

Joyce Leggate at Kirkcaldy Foodbank (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)
Joyce Leggate at Kirkcaldy Foodbank (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)

Kirkcaldy Foodbank is at risk of collapse if support is not found to cover shortfalls in funding, organisers claim.

The charity is appealing for more monetary donations as fears grow that without them it will not last another year.

The foodbank, which has been in the town since 
December 2013, has been a vital 
lifeline to countless people and families who are in crisis.

The independent charity has given out more than 1000 food parcels every month this year as demand continues to grow in the run up to Christmas.

Debt has been recorded as one of the main reasons 
people visit the food bank along with benefit delays, sanctions and changes.

Joyce Leggate, chairman of Kirkcaldy Foodbank, blames the rise in demand for food parcels on Universal Credit, she said: “We issued just under 1200 parcels last month to people in the 
Kirkcaldy area, we are finding that we are giving out more and more family parcels.

“What we are hearing from our clients is that a lot of them are visiting the foodbank due to accrued debt, 
particularly from when they are transitioning on to Universal Credit and are having to go a 
minimum of five weeks without any money whatsoever.

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“In this waiting period, people who are already vulnerable are racking up rent arrears, council tax 
arrears, they have maybe taken an advanced loan or borrowed from friends and family, and of course all this has to be repaid, it’s a vicious circle.”

With the increasing demand of people who are needing support each month, Kirkcaldy Foodbank is struggling to match the need financially.

“Unfortunately, our 
income isn’t keeping up to pace with the demand,” Joyce said. “We are running at £2000 a month deficit, from our 
income to our expenditure, part of this is due to increasing food costs.

“We are spending £10,000 every month purchasing food from local supermarkets and through FairShare, and even with the very generous donations that we get from the public and various businesses in the town, it just isn’t enough to cover the demand that we have for food.

“If something doesn’t change, there will not be a foodbank in Kirkcaldy this time next year.”

- Just under one third of the people receiving food from Kirkcaldy Foodbank are children.

- Since July 2017 there has been an estimated 606,977 meals provided in 34469 parcels to 67533 people who need support in the Kirkcaldy area.

- The number of adults receiving assistance during 2019 is currently recorded at 16,068 people and the number of children is 7151.

- There has been a wide range of reasons why people are visiting the Foodbank this year: 2588 people visiting due to debt; 1924 due to benefit delay; 1797 people due to benefit change; 1240 people due to financial hardship; 953 people due to benefit sanctions and 712 people needing support due to unexpected bills.

- The number of people needing support who have visited only once this year has increased from 49 per cent last year to 59 per cent this year.