A COUNSELOR who volunteers at a food bank has said a ‘shocking’ number of people across society have been pushed into food insecurity since the pandemic began.
Carl Walker, who represents the borough of Selden on Worthing Borough Council, helped set up the Worthing Food Foundation in early April 2020 after aid groups in the area discovered that many people did not have access to the food they needed. they needed, with expectations for Universal Credit plunging many into food insecurity.
Cllr Walker said job losses resulting from the pandemic and the rising cost of living has led to more people from a wider demographic group seeking support.
He said: “Two or three years ago you would have had people who are mostly on low incomes using Universal Credit.
“Since Covid there have been an awful lot of people using food banks who have never used them before.
“People have lost their jobs due to the pandemic and they have expenses that are way more than they can afford and they’ve had to find themselves using food banks.”
Cllr Walker said a perfect storm of factors from the pandemic, including a rise in the cost of living, the end of the eviction ban and the end of a £20-a-month Universal Credit boost , have all come together to push more people into food insecurity.
He said: “The statistics are shocking – if you look at the national statistics there must be something in the region of 12,000 people in Worthing alone who are food insecure, because it’s around 10% Population.”
Cllr Walker explained that many food insecure people do not turn to food banks for help, due to perceived shame and stigma.
In her efforts to support local food banks and destigmatize using their services, Cllr Walker and two of her friends embark on a 100 mile cycle to raise funds to provide these services with much needed support.
Cllr Walker, along with Kevin Jaggs and Gareth Griffiths begin their return cycle between Chichester and Seaford tomorrow (Saturday March 5), with money donated to 30 food banks along the 50-mile stretch of the Sussex coast.
The trio are aiming to raise £30,000 to donate £1,000 to each food bank in the area.
Cllr Walker said: ‘Just before Christmas we saw a 30 per cent increase in the number of people needing help, and it’s not just us at the Worthing Food Foundation – it’s across the board.
“I know a few food banks are very close to the wall and can’t cope. It’s a pretty desperate time, so we’re trying to raise money for them.
People can donate to Cllr Walker’s fundraiser at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/30kfor30foodbanks.
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This notice was published: 2022-03-04 06:17:22