Cost of living pressures increase in Isle of Man as food bank prepares for 'very challenging' year

Volunteers at the only foodbank on the Isle of Man say they are preparing for a "very challenging 18 months" as the demand for the service increases due to cost of living.

Over the past few months, the organisation has delivered an average of 370 food parcels per month, supporting roughly 100 households each week.

CEO of the Isle of Man Foodbank, Neal Mellon said: "I know that we're in for a very challenging 18 months."

He continued: "The need for the Isle of Man Foodbank is evident as we've been on the go constantly for the last nine years and there's no rush for it to close any time soon.

"The need for the food bank increases on a daily basis."

Neal Mellon has been running the food bank on the Isle of Man for over nine years. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

The services offered by the food bank help people living on their own, couples living together, and most frequently families who are struggling with the cost of living.

A lot of the work involves packaging and delivering food to households across the island, but the food bank also provides tools to help with cooking and checks in with clients using the service.

Volunteer Mary Barker said: "There are people who are struggling so much and it is a shame it has to come to this but at least we're fulfilling a need that's really necessary."

Mary Barker started volunteering after contacting the food bank to help her neighbour in need. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

In response to the increasing costs, the Isle of Man Government announced a freeze on all electricity prices until March 2023.

All bus fares were also capped at £2.00 per journey, and support payments were given out to those on low incomes.

A dedicated list of 'warm spaces' has also been approved providing free areas around the island for people to visit during the winter months.

One of these is at the Northern Swimming Pool in Ramsey.

Under the scheme, the pool is offering swimming lessons to children and those over the age of 60 free of charge.

Sally says the cost of living 'is a concern' for people in the Isle of Man and using dedicated warm spaces is a 'wonderful idea'. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

Sally attends the sessions regularly in Ramsey, saying she now 'has to think twice' before spending money due to the increasing costs.

She said: "I think it's a wonderful idea that will save a lot on heating, especially as it's becoming so expensive now."

"The cost of food has increased tremendously, it's a concern. But I put a blanket round me, I put my dog on my lap or a hot water bottle and make do.

"But there are some people who are finding it very very difficult to manage."

The Northern Swimming Pool in Ramsey is one of the pools offering free 'warm spaces' over the winter months. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

Similar 'warm spaces' schemes are taking place in swimming pools across the island until 31 March 2023.

  • Monday: 6:00pm - 7:30pm - Western Swimming Pool

  • Tuesday: 5:00pm - 6:30pm - Northern Swimming Pool

  • Wednesday: 5:30pm - 7:00pm - Northern Swimming Pool

  • Thursday: 6:00pm - 7:30pm - Western Swimming Pool

  • Friday: 6:00pm - 7:30pm - Northern Swimming Pool

  • Saturday: 2:15pm - 4:15pm - Southern Swimming Pool

In a New Year's tweet, the Chief Minister of the Island Alfred Cannan warned of a 'tough start' to 2023, but said there will be 'better times ahead'.

The government are set to review the electricity price cap and the warm spaces scheme in March 2023.

More on the Isle of Man Foodbank and the services on offer can be found here.

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