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Food banks in Spalding and Holbeach fear that demand will continue to soar

Food banks across the area fear that the cost of living crisis will continue for some time, as the number of people seeking help continues to soar.

In the lead-up to Christmas last year, the desperate need for support in areas such as Stamford, Spalding and Ingoldmells were highlighted by the Trussell Trust and other organisations.

At the same time charitable groups in Boston, Skegness, and Gainsborough reported a huge increase in demand compared to the previous year, driven by factors such as rising energy costs.

Sandra Reedman, Jane Francis, chair of trustees and Wanda Adams-Stevens
Sandra Reedman, Jane Francis, chair of trustees and Wanda Adams-Stevens

Six months later and foodbanks across the county feel that conditions have not improved, and in some cases, demand continues to increase due to ongoing cost of living pressures.

And a large number of the people needing help are families with children.

In Spalding, Irene Davies from the Agape Care Foodbank insisted that a great number of people across the town are struggling, as she continues to see individuals in poor health and those awaiting DWP payments seeking support.

She explained that a large number of people in Spalding rely on agency work, which only provides a limited number of working days each week.

Over the past six months, this has led to an increase in people receiving food parcels.

“We’ve suddenly had a surge again. In Spalding, we do have a lot of agency workers and it is a big issue for them,” said Irene.

Increasing numbers of large families in the area have also been coming to the food bank, particularly after some faced delays in receiving benefits this week.

“If benefits aren’t paid on time, and we’ve seen that just this week, it’s those families who really find themselves struggling,” Irene added.

Since the beginning of 2024, the Agape Care Foodbank has supported around 500 people and roughly another 1,500 people through the community larder, where individuals can pick up smaller parcels of around six to eight items without a referral.

Also in South Holland, Jane Francis from the Holbeach Community Larder agreed that ‘people are still feeling the pinch’ but noted that numbers have been fluctuating recently.

She remarked, “You get weeks when it’s really up and down.

“People on benefits, you notice it when they get these additional payments because they suddenly disappear.”

That being said, the charity has seen an uptick in people coming to their cafe on Fridays, where they provide a two-course meal.

“For many people, it’s the only decent meal they get in a week,” added Jane.

Holbeach Community Larder has helped feed around 2,000 people over the past 12 months, 50% of whom are children.

Furthermore, its cafe has prepared over 1,800 two-course meals.

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