Food bank in Guernsey sees demand spike since the Covid pandemic

  • Video report by Serena Sandhu

As the cost of living crisis continues to bite, the number of people in Guernsey using one charity's foodbank has increased by a quarter since the pandemic.

The Guernsey Welfare Service helped 460 households in 2019. In 2020 this rose to 560 and last year the number climbed further to 584.

One person who has needed to seek help from the food bank at Shiloh Church is 66-year-old Philip Myers.

He said: "I live on the Genats Estate and I see the poverty around me.

"On the odd day you go fasting, you won't have anything you just have water for the odd day a week and that helps as well.

"It is the actual buying of the food which is very, very, very expensive. I like the instant mash potato. It used to be £1 and now it is £1.50, that's a 50% rise just on that one item."

Every week at least two people use the foodbank at the Guernsey Welfare Service for the first time.

Some are working multiple jobs to make ends meet.

Sue Le Friec from Guernsey Welfare Service said: "I saw a family recently where Dad was out working a full-time job which just covered the monthly rent and then he had a part-time weekend job which just covered his electric.

"I think there are definitely people making difficult decisions about what they spend their money on and whether they let that bill ride a bit so they can afford to pay for everything else they need that week.

"Going without food or less food or quality of food is one of the things that people are doing."

Shiloh Church near Cobo has its own food and children's clothing bank which is open to anyone.

Chrissy Salmon from Shiloh Church said: "We're seeing a much bigger increase, particularly over the last year I would say of families coming to use the food bank and also people on their own going through a difficult time so work has definitely increased over the last year.

"The same with the clothing bank too. The clothes come in and go out very quickly, we have a regular turnover of families."

Deputy Peter Roffey, President of Guernsey's Employment and Social Security Committee, said: "The first thing to say is that I very much appreciate that the current increase in the cost of living is causing hardship."The main way the States can seek to help is through the Income Support system. It is there to help anybody who is struggling to make ends meet, whether or not they are in work. I urge anybody in any doubt over whether they qualify to apply."