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Demand at Suffolk foodbank over last year more than previous four years combined




A foodbank gave out more food last year than the previous four combined, as families struggled to keep plates full amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2020, 9,018 people were fed by Waveney Foodbank, based in Eye, Suffolk, – up from just 3,517 the year before.

The foodbank, which is part of the Trussell Trust foodbank network, saw the biggest increase in demand over Christmas last year, feeding more than 1,300 people – up from just 347 the year before.

Eye, Suffolk, 02/01/2021..Matthew Scade who is the project manager of Waveney Foodbank, which has seen a surge in demand over Christmas Period...Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography. (43794476)
Eye, Suffolk, 02/01/2021..Matthew Scade who is the project manager of Waveney Foodbank, which has seen a surge in demand over Christmas Period...Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography. (43794476)

This accounts for an astonishing increase of almost 350 per cent – significantly higher than the 61 per cent rise in demand that had been predicted over the winter for Trussell Trust foobanks earlier in the year.

Matthew Scade, project manager at Waveney Foodbank, said that part of the reason for the unprecedented rise in demand lied in how people in rural areas had been uniquely affected by the pandemic and subsequent lockdown measures.

“We’ve given out more food this year that we have in the last four years combined,” said the 49-year-old, who was awarded the ‘Norfolk Hero Award’ last July for his work during the pandemic.

“Rural poverty is hitting people a lot harder than those in cities because with no bus services you have to get in a car to travel anywhere.

“The majority of people here are self employed and they have been hit the hardest during this pandemic.

The foodbank gave out around 122,000 kilos of food this year – up from just 40,275 the year prior, and was forced to open up two new warehouses to keep up with the increase in donations and demand.

Mr Scade, who has worked there since 2012, thanked those for their support as they desperately tried to manage an increase in demand and a decline in resources.

“We lost a lot of our volunteers, who had to self isolate,” he said.

“Supermarkets were running out of food as well, so there was nobody going to the supermarket to get food or make donations.”

“South Norfolk council were great - without them we wouldn’t have been able to carry on.

“Without people donating food and money we would not have been able to do what we have done."

If anyone is looking to donate to Waveny Foodbank, they should call on 07484 394749.

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