The number of people turning to foodbanks in Slough has risen by 24 per cent.

This is according to data shared by Slough Foodbank which has cast light on the dire situation caused by the cost of living increasing.

In 2022, the foodbank saw 5,801 food parcels handed out, however, in 2023 this rose to 7,171.

The number of children needing the service has also risen by 17 per cent. This breaks down to 3,521 in 2022 and 4,129 in 2023.

January, November and December have been revealed to be the months where the foodbank is in most demand, correlating with winter months when cash-strapped families are often choosing between eating and heating as energy costs surge.

The foodbank has said: "It’s a stark reality that year on year the increase in demand for Slough Foodbank continues – it’s not a trend that’s acceptable.

"More people are being dragged into debt and having to turn to foodbanks to survive.

"This escalating hardship creates dire consequences for individuals and the Slough community as a whole."

SloughFoodbank added that the government's one-off cost of living payment helps people on low incomes with the number of foodbank users dipping after the payments have been made. However, the effects of the payment are seen to last between one to three weeks.

In October, along with Citizens Advice, Slough Foodbank launched a new service in the town to further help people in crisis, through running confidential sessions at the Foodbank’s Distribution Centres.

"This was a significant step – a long-term approach, helping people get the advice they need so they can reduce their reliance on crisis support, including the use of foodbanks, as their financial situation improves," the Foodbank added.

"Many people who find themselves in food poverty crisis and need to use a foodbank have underlying issues relating to benefits, debt, low income, discrimination at work, housing, homelessness or ill health."

Slough Foodbank Manager, Laura Cole added: “It is so disheartening to see the stats prove what we see first-hand in the distribution centres, the continuing deprivation in Slough leading to people facing food poverty crisis and turning to us, often as a last resort.

"We were hopeful that the cost of living payments would make a substantial difference, sadly the relief was temporary.

"With a 21 per cent increase in food parcels, we are under real pressure to meet this demand both on supply of food, which we rely on donations for, as well as volunteers who sort food, prepare food parcels and serve clients.”

Slough Foodbank’s primary function is to supply a three-day emergency food parcel to those who suddenly find themselves in an unexpected crisis.  In addition to food, they also supply basic toiletries and household products, as well as nappies, baby wipes and pet food if required.

Last year, the foodbank also gave out 1,300 SIM cards and 783 emergency fuel vouchers to those in need.

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