The number of three day emergency food supplies provided to people in Stoke-on-Trent was down slightly, according to latest figures.
4,132 were given out between April and September this year, compared to 5,302 in the same period in 2016.
Of this number, 1,546 went to children.
The foodbank, a member of The Trussell Trust’s network which has today reported an increase in UK foodbank use, is concerned that while part of the decrease locally is due to the foodbank offering additional support, demand still remains high and that there is unmet need in the local area.
The foodbank believes much of the reduction is due to a major referral agent withdrawing from issuing vouchers. SOT foodbank are pushing for the reinstatement of voucher issue by this group, to ensure access is unlocked to this free source of vital crisis support.
In the months leading to Christmas a number of factors, such as cold weather and high energy bills, mean that the Trussell Trust’s foodbank network traditionally sees a spike in foodbank use.
The Foodbank is asking the community to help them prepare for their busiest time of year by donating urgently needed food items and seasonal treats, and encouraging fundraising to help us with the cost of providing this service.
SOT Foodbank is concerned about the rollout of full Universal Credit (UC) in across our local area. It has been seen by from other foodbanks in UC roll out areas that people referred to them have experienced issues with the new system.
The six week waiting period for a first payment can contribute to debt, mental health issues and rent arrears. The effects of these can last even after people receive their Universal Credit payments, as bills and debts pile up.
SOT Foodbank is preparing to help prevent local people affected going hungry but is troubled by the extra pressure this puts on food donation stocks and volunteers’ capacity.
Corrine Boden-Fernyhough, Manager of SOT Foodbank said: “Whilst we’ve seen a decrease in the amount of emergency food we provide, we’re concerned that not everyone who needs our help is able to access the support they need.
"We’re looking into this and are working hard to make sure anyone who falls into crisis is able to access the foodbank.
"Universal Credit will soon be fully going live in our local area and we want to make sure anyone who needs support from the foodbank to be able to access it."