‘Significant’ rise in people fed by King’s Lynn food bank

Red Cross and Foodbank services at Austin Fields in King's Lynn.

Red Cross and Foodbank services at Austin Fields in King's Lynn.

Figures released this month have shown a ‘significant’ increase in the number of people who were fed by the Lynn food bank last year.

The statistics, published by the food bank, show an 17.9 per cent rise from 3,146 people fed in 2015, to 3,711 fed in 2016, demonstrating the continued need for the service.

A spokesman for the food bank said: “The total number of people fed in 2016 increased significantly from 2015 figures, but was still lower than in 2014 – this was mainly due to the non-inclusion of Hunstanton’s figures in 2016.”

Lynn food bank incorporates facilities in Downham, but the Hunstanton food bank became independent in October 2015.

The figures also show a soar in the number of children who were fed thanks to the charitable organisation last year.

There was a 50 per cent increase of youngsters fed from 877 in 2015 to 1,319 in 2016.

The spokesman said: “Significantly, the number of children fed in 2016 increased markedly due to the larger use of the food bank by families and single parents.”

Three days of food is provided on presentation of a voucher which states the number of people in need and the reason for giving it.

Recipients are allowed three food parcels every six months except in emergency situations where they can be given more.

The spokesman said the main reasons for giving vouchers during the last three years were benefit delays or changes and low income.

Almost half of those who had vouchers last year were given them due to benefit delays or changes.

The main voucher distributors are the Job Centre Plus, Citizens Advice Bureau, Purfleet Trust, the Probation Service, Freebridge Housing and Genesis Housing.

Of the 1,794 vouchers distributed, 172 were gvien to people with no fixed abode, and 1,154 (64 per cent) were given to people from five wards in Lynn – St Margaret’s with St Nicholas, North Lynn, Gaywood Chase, South and West Lynn and Fairstead.