News

Foodbank use up 18%

Thursday, 19 July 2018

BALLYMONEY Foodbank has seen an almost 20% increase in usage since the introduction of Universal Credit in November 2017.
This is the disturbing news revealed by a Director of the local Foodbank after they recently compiled figures covering this past year.
Co-Director of Ballymoney Foodbank Mr Peter Rawlins said: "We looked at the number of vouchers dealt with, the number of people helped and the weight of food distributed in the six months leading up to November 2017 and in the five months after November 2017 (excluding December which is always a peak month for any foodbank) and we found there was an 18% increase in first five months of this year."
Mr Rawlins continued: "This is a significant increase on the previous six months and on the corresponding months the previous year. Universal Credit is definitely a part of that, I am in no doubt about that. We have been dealing with people who have said that they are in need of help because of Universal Credit."
The figures cover the six month period May to October 2017 and the period January to May 2018 with an average of 30 vouchers a month dealt with in the first period, jumping to 38 in the second.
Peter acknowledges that these figures are from quite a small area over a limited time 'but something must have triggered it.' He said:"There is an unmistakable trend, more people are needing help after Universal Credit. It's eight more families who need our help every month in a small town like Ballymoney."
The Trussell Trust, which compiles UK wide Foodbank figures, say that increases of over 50% are common in areas where UC has been rolled out for a year or more.
The Chronicle asked the Department of Communities, who rolled out UC, to comment on the issues raised, with a spokesperson saying:
“People use food banks for many and varied reasons and it would be misleading to link them to any single cause."

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