Child poverty continues to soar as Renfrewshire Foodbank reveals impact of cost-of-living crisis

Jim Crawford, Crystal Clayton, Cynthia Revis and Anne Moedbeck at Renfrewshire Foodbank stand with crates of donated food
-Credit: (Image: Andrew Neil)


The number of children being supported by Renfrewshire Foodbank is higher now than it was at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, new figures have revealed.

Data released by the Trussell Trust shows 2,891 child-specific food parcels were handed out to local families in the 2023/24 financial year.

It’s an 11 per cent increase on the support offered to youngsters at the height of the pandemic when thousands of local people were furloughed and their household income slashed.

In total, 9,613 parcels were handed out to people experiencing financial crisis with the number remaining consistently high in recent years.

The charity – which has outlets in Paisley, Johnstone and Renfrew – said many dozens of people had accessed the food bank for the first time in the past 12 months.

Crystal Clayton, manager of Renfrewshire Foodbank, said that food parcels created for children amounted to one third of all supplies handed out.

She said: “We see an array of different people from all walks of life. There is no particular pattern to it but what we can see is that more and more people [including those with children] are being pushed into crisis than ever before.

“The combination of the cost-of-living crisis not getting any better, the cost of food skyrocketing and utility bills going up, it’s no wonder people are struggling.

“I have said it time and time again but people just don’t have enough money to cover the essentials and we are seeing the impact of that on a day-to-day basis. At the end of the day, you can’t budget what you don’t have.”

Analysis by the Trussell Trust shows the cumulative impact of very high levels of food inflation alone over the last few years means food prices are 24 per cent higher in March 2024 than March 2022.

As a result, food banks in the Trussell Trust network saw the highest ever levels of need in 2023 as more people found their incomes did not cover the cost of essentials like heating and food.

Between April 2023 and March 2024, the number of people that used a food bank for the first time was 655,000.

Across Scotland, between April 1, 2023 and March 31, 2024, 262,400 emergency food parcels were distributed in Scotland. Of those, 156,262 (60 per cent) were for families with children – highlighting a 21 per cent increase on five years ago.

The dire situation facing families has seen the Trussell Trust create its own manifesto ahead of the General Election on July 4 setting out how food insecurity can finally be eradicated. It calls for a social security system which ensures people can afford the essential of everyday life.

Launching the policy document, the organisation said: “We know what’s pushing people to food banks, so we know the building blocks needed to end hunger for good.”

In order to view the manifesto, log on to www.trusselltrust.org/get-involved/campaigns/manifesto

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