5 years of tackling food poverty at North Bristol Foodbank

15,036 three day emergency food supplies have been given out by the North Bristol Foodbank since opening in July 2012, of which 6,441 were for local children.

North Bristol foodbank provides three days’ non-perishable emergency food to people who have hit crisis and every person who comes to the foodbank is referred with a voucher by a frontline care professional, such as a social worker or schools liaison officer.

Having started with two locations five years ago, there are now four opening sessions that are run by volunteers across North Bristol, in Lockleaze, Filton, Horfield and Southmead.

Year on year we have seen an increase in the number of food supplies given at these locations as local people continue to find themselves in crisis for reasons such as changes to benefits, losing work, or trouble with debt.

Over the last five years, 49% of supplies were given to help people with delayed or changed benefits, 21% for issues with low income, and 9% struggling with debt.

Stewart North, Chair of Trustees for North Bristol Foodbank says: “When we started the Foodbank, we observed the real need in local communities but never envisaged that it would grow in quite the way that it has. Alongside local churches, we are now able to facilitate cooking courses, budgeting courses and an increasing holistic vision for supporting those who are vulnerable or in crisis locally. We are also excited about the launch of Feeding Bristol and the ambitious vision of a ‘Zero Hunger city’.”

Since North Bristol Foodbank was established, 181,294kg of food and toiletries have been donated, the vast majority of which has come from generous members of the public in the area.

Foodbank Manager, Jon Dobson, says: “We are very grateful for the ongoing support we have received from local people, churches, businesses and schools in providing food that we can distribute to those in need in our local area, and financial support for the project. However, our work still continues and especially as the school holidays are about to begin, we are concerned about the growing issue of holiday hunger. At present we particularly need donations of cooking sauces, tinned meat, instant coffee, and fruit juice to top up the supplies we already have.”

To find out how to get involved and to keep up to date with donations the North Bristol Foodbank needs, visit www.northbristol.foodbank.org.uk

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