UK

Almost Half Of All Children Using Foodbanks Are Primary School Age, Trussell Trust Finds

'This highlights just how close to crisis many families are living.'

25/07/2017 00:33 BST | Updated 25/07/2017 09:09 BST
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Trussell Trust Foodbanks helped at least 67,506 children - as young as newborn babies - last summer alone

Almost half of all children forced to use foodbanks last summer were primary school age, figures published by the Trussell Trust reveal.

Newborn babies were among those relying on the charity’s parcels to survive, while the school holidays provoked a surge in those seeking emergency help, new figures show.

Around 47 percent of the aid that went to children went to five to 11 year olds, while 27% went to zero to four year olds, the Trussell Trust said.

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Around 47 percent of the aid that went to children went to five to 11 year olds, the Trussell Trust said

Some 67,506 three-day emergency food supplies were provided for children by The Trussell Trust’s foodbank network in July and August 2016 compared to 63,094 in May and June 2016.

Between July and August 2016, of all 67, 506 three-day emergency food supplies went to children.

The figures have inspired additional services to families who might be struggling during the holiday. The trust said it would operate holiday clubs in 27 locations.

The government said work remained the best route out of poverty and that record numbers of people were in employment.

But Samantha Stapley, Operations Manager for England at The Trussell Trust, said: “This highlights just how close to crisis many families are living.

“We can all make a difference - checking which food your local foodbank is running low on and donating to make sure emergency food is available when people are referred to help is a simple and effective way to get involved.

“You could be helping a family that lives on your street.

This highlights just how close to crisis many families are living

“As a nation we also must address the reasons why families with children are referred to foodbanks in the first place.

“We welcome the Government’s decision to maintain free school lunches for children during term time – the next step must be to help families during the holidays.

“Foodbanks are doing more than ever before but voluntary organisations alone cannot stop primary school children facing hunger.

“We are keen to share our insights with the new Government alongside other charities to inform a long-term coordinated solution to stop families falling into crisis.”

The Rt. Rev the Lord Bishop of Truro Tim Thornton, said: “It is shocking to read the statistics and the breakdown provided by The Trussell Trust. 

“That so many primary age children are going without food in our country is of great concern. 

That so many primary age children are going without food in our country is of great concern

“It is good that so many voluntary organisations, the vast majority of which are based on churches are working to provide help for families during the summer holidays. 

“It is very good that the community wants to help and work with those less fortunate and that is a key part of the gospel values. 

“It is however also important that we keep trying to understand the deeper reasons why this situation is as it is.” 

A Government spokesperson said: “Employment remains the best route out of poverty. Record numbers of people are now in work and we’re helping millions of households meet the everyday cost of living and keep more of what they earn.

We’ve doubled free childcare to help parents into work, and continue to spend over £90bn a year on support for those who need it

“We’ve doubled free childcare to help parents into work, and continue to spend over £90bn a year on support for those who need it, including those who are bringing up a family or on a low income.

“Budgeting advice and benefit advances are also available for anyone who needs more help.” 

The new figures come as The Trussell Trust launches its national Summer Appeal and encourages people to donate to their local foodbank as the school holidays start.

[READ MORE: Foodbank Users Reveal The Sheer Desperation That Left Them With No Other Option]