Foodbanks warn of increased demand for help

  • Watch a package by Mary Stanley

Foodbanks across the region are saying that the demand for their services has soared during the pandemic. People faced with job losses are struggling to feed themselves and their families. 

In Basingstoke, volunteers say that this month is already proving to be their busiest month ever, with the number of people needing help having doubled in a year.

We have a team who call all of our clients when they get their food just to check how they are and try and get to the reasons why they needed the food bank in the first place, and perhaps give them extra help to deal with those issues.

We have a saying in the food bank movement, 'you're only two paychecks away from a crisis and the fact is with job insecurity and people being laid off, it doesn't take very long to get to the point where buying enough food for the family is a very difficult thing to do.

Phil Thomas, Basingstoke Foodbank

Meanwhile in Winchester volunteers have set up an emergency food hub as more and more people in the city struggle to make ends meet. Jamie Robinson, the Community building manager at Unit 12, said that many of the people who visit the facility have never asked for help before.  He added that he wants to take away the perceived stigma of people having to ask for help to get access to food.

I think there’s a massive stigma and there have been some people that have felt embarrassed, but I guess we all need help at some point. I know at some point in my life I’ll probably need help, and it would be great if there are places like this that can give the help. No-one should feel embarrassed because we have got plenty of food and we have got plenty of good volunteers that are helping.

Jamie Robinson, Unit 12 emergency food hub in Winchester