Food banks in Cumbria struggle to cope with surge of users

Ulverston's Food Bank has seen a 38% rise in users since April Credit: PA

Food banks in South Lakeland are reporting rising levels of use with demand expected to surge again during the school summer holidays.

Ulverston's Food Bank has seen a 38% rise from April to July and Kendal's has had an 18% yearly rise for two years running.

The food bank is part of the Trussell Trust network, a UK hunger and poverty charity. In 2018 - 2019 it provided:

8,100

Three-day emergency food supplies to people in need

3,112

Emergency supplies to children

It is worth remembering that with the school holidays now in full flow, there will be more families struggling to feed their children than usual, which presents an added strain to the already busy food banks."

Cllr Suzie Pye, Lib Dem cabinet member for health, wellbeing and financial resilience
Credit: PA

Liberal Democrat Councillors say a 'major contributing factor' was the introduction of Universal Credit, which has led to some people claiming benefits having to wait five weeks for the first payment.

Figures from the The End Child Poverty website revealed that the Kirkland and Underley districts have the highest rate of poverty in Kendal, at 34.6 percent compared to the national average of 40 percent.

Cllr Matt Severn said that South Lakeland District Council was committing more than £1.2 million over the next five years towards affordable empty homes so that 'every child was able to sleep in a safe, dry and comfortable house'.

It's not just South Lakeland that has seen a surge in the number of people using food banks. A centre in Carlisle says they are 'critically low' on donations after handing out more than 250 bags of food over two weeks.

If you would like to donate, here is a list of food banks in Cumbria: