Charity hands out record number of food parcels in Northumberland over summer

A charity has recorded its highest demand for food bank parcels in the past five years.
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The Trussell Trust, which operates a food bank in Cramlington, handed out 1,588 emergency food parcels between April and September.

This is a rise from 1,109 during the same period a year before – and the highest figure since local figures were first made available in 2018.

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Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, said: "An increasing number of children are growing up in families facing hunger, forced to turn to food banks to survive.

High demand for food parcels in Northumberland.High demand for food parcels in Northumberland.
High demand for food parcels in Northumberland.

"A generation is growing up believing that it’s normal to see a food bank in every community. This is not right.”

The trust's figures show 589 of this summer's food parcels in Northumberland were for children.

Ms Revie continued: "Rising hunger and hardship have devastating consequences for individuals and our communities, damage the nation’s health and hold back our economy.

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"People in work, as well as people who cannot work, are increasingly being pushed into debt and forced to turn to a food bank to survive."

Across the UK, the North East of England and Wales had the highest levels of food bank usage, with one parcel handed out for every 35 residents in both areas.

In response, the organisation has called for an "essentials guarantee" – meaning Universal Credit should protect people from going without the basics – and for benefits to rise in line with inflation in this year's Autumn Statement.

A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions said: "There are 1.7 million fewer people in absolute poverty than in 2010, but we know some families are struggling, which is why we are providing a record support package worth £3,300 per household.

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"This includes the latest cost of living payments paid directly to over eight million households this year, our decision to raise benefits by over 10% earlier this year and our £2 billion Household Support Fund which is helping people to buy essentials."

They added the Government is aiming to get more people into work through investment and increasing the national living wage.