Glasgow foodbank manager warns both full-time working parents having to use service

Families on household incomes of £70,000 a year are relying on foodbanks, it was warned - amid concern that demand is increasing while donations are falling.

Homeowners living in posh areas are said to be among foodbank users, as well as asylum seekers and OAPs unable to get by on their state pension.

With the cost of food increasing, donations are stretched, with some foodbanks warning that parcels are becoming smaller as a result.

Claire McCunnie, manager of the Glasgow South West Food Bank, which runs three services in the city’s Ibrox, Mosspark, and Cardonald areas, said she has never seen such desperation in the nine years she has been running the service.

She said: “There are a lot more families coming in, and families who live in bought houses.

A foodbank manager has talked about the increased use of the service.

“It’s not just folk in tenements.

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“Both parents might be working full-time, but once they’ve paid their mortgage and bills, they literally don’t have anything left.

“It’s not just that people can’t afford food, they can’t afford to cook it.”

Due to spiralling food prices and a 50 per cent year-on-year drop in donations, Instant Neighbour in Aberdeen has been forced to reduce the size of its parcels in the hope of ensuring its growing numbers of clients receive some help.

Evan Adamson, who runs Instant Neighbour, said: “The last thing we want to do is turn people away because we don’t have food, but we’ve seen a 30 per cent increase in clients since April, and where once a £500 food shop would have filled our Transit van a year ago, now it barely fills a quarter of it.

“It’s the price of basics like rice, pasta, bread, and sauces that’s massively risen, and it’s even worse with the likes of tinned macaroni, hot dogs, or tuna.”

“We’re a reasonably big food bank in a big city that sees 150 to 200 households a week, but as things stand, we need the public to come up with £3,000 a week to help with our costs.

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“By October, that could reach £4,000 or £5,000 a week. In reality, we’re getting £1,800 to £2,000.

“I’ve had half a dozen people from one of the wealthiest areas in Aberdeen contact me in the last month - these are families who work hard, have a nice house, a nice car.

“One had a household income of around £60,000 to £70,000 a year, but with the cost of living, they don’t have anything left after paying their bills.”

The situation is now worse than during the pandemic, and fuel prices are putting additional pressure on volunteers.

Mary McGinley, chair of Helensburgh and Lomond Foodbank, said: “During covid we were seeing around 40 people a week, but last week, we had 72.

“We’re seeing more families, and in all but two months since October, we’ve been receiving less than we’ve given out.

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“The combination of the higher food prices and fuel is shocking, and my concern is the impact it has on volunteers.

“It all adds to the complexity of being a simple food bank, and I fear it will become unsustainable.”

Claire McCunnie, manager of the Glasgow South West Food Bank, which runs three services in the city’s Ibrox, Mosspark, and Cardonald areas, said she has never seen such desperation in the nine years she has been running the service.

She said: “There are a lot more families coming in, and families who live in bought houses.

“It’s not just folk in tenements.

“Both parents might be working full-time, but once they’ve paid their mortgage and bills, they literally don’t have anything left.

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“It’s not just that people can’t afford food, they can’t afford to cook it.”

Kirkcaldy Foodbank is now spending over £20,000 a month on produce - although annual income only stands at £150,000, down more than half on the previous year, and donations are down around 66 per cent year-on-year.

April was the second busiest month in its history with 1,460 visits, and more than a third of those visits were by families.

Joyce Legatte, a former NHS midwife said: “We’re seeing a lot more older people who can’t cope on state pensions, and we’re seeing people we haven’t seen for a couple of years.

“They’ve been just getting by, but they can’t any longer.”

Edinburgh City Mission said the number of guest visits in April to June projected to be 31 per cent up on the same period last year.

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Sabine Goodwin, co-ordinator of the Independent Food Aid Network, said: “Independent food banks are running out of road.

“It’s essential that both the UK and Scottish governments do all they can to immediately tackle the root causes of rapidly growing poverty and destitution.

“Relying on overburdened volunteers to help people pushed into poverty as a result of governmental inaction is unsustainable, ineffective, and unconscionable.”