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King's Lynn Food Bank 'helping 50 per cent more people now than a year ago'



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The number of people seeking help from Lynn's Food Bank has soared by more than 50 per cent in the first seven months of this year, new figures show.

Officials have described the current level of demand as unprecedented and estimate that the charity has nearly fed as many people already this year than in the whole of 2018.

And a fundraising initiative is being relaunched next month in an effort to help meet the growing demand.

Demand for support from Lynn's Food Bank has reached unprecedented levels, the charity says
Demand for support from Lynn's Food Bank has reached unprecedented levels, the charity says

According to data released by the group yesterday, a total of 3,505 people had been given food from the charity's distribution centres in Lynn and Downham over the period between the beginning of January and the end of July.

That represents an increase of 51 per cent from the 2,316 people who were supported over the same period last year.

Trustee Andy King said they believed the roll-out of the controversial Universal Credit benefit into West Norfolk had made a significant impact on the demand placed upon them.

The project was intended to make the benefits system simpler but has been beset with delays and financial problems that have left it years behind schedule and billions of pounds over budget.

Critics also claim the system has pushed many people into hardship, although the government disputes that.

Mr King said: “The roll-out of Universal Credit has had a huge impact locally. We’ve been rushed off our feet.

“We fed over 4,000 people last year but we’re heading for a figure of over 6,000 this year. It’s shocking."

He added: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of the public in the eight years since we launched, but we need more help than ever before.”

To help support as many people as possible, the charity is relaunching its Big Supper Week project next month.

The main fundraising week will run from October 21 to 27, although events can be held at any time between now and Christmas.

Mr King said: “We’re asking people to invite their friends or work colleagues for a meal.

“It could be an elaborate dinner party or a simple lunch – it doesn’t matter.

"But the idea is that people make a donation for the food they’ve eaten, which goes towards our work.”

Anyone who is interested in hosting an event for Big Supper Week is asked to email andy@kingslynn.foodbank.org.uk for advice or an information pack.



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