Shock new figures show Flintshire has the 2nd highest number of children receiving emergency food parcels in Wales
New figures released by anti-poverty charity, The Trussell Trust show 1258 children in Flintshire required emergency food supplies in the past six months.
Cardiff with a population of 341,000 – was the only area in Wales where the Trussell Trust handed more emergency food supplies to children than Flintshire.
In the six months to September 30th a total of 2861 adults and children were in need of support from food banks in Flintshire, a slight overall increase in usage for the same period last year.
The 17 per cent year on year hike in the number of children receiving food handouts in the county suggests something in Flintshire is going badly wrong.
Across all Wales 41,000 emergency food parcels were distributed in the same six month period, 14,000 to children .
On the back of the new figures, The Trussell Trust has called for foodbanks to have a direct phone line to local job centres providing vital trouble-shooting support for people referred to foodbanks due to problems with welfare claims.
A hotline would offer a low-cost solution allowing foodbank managers and volunteers to support those in serious crises more quickly and efficiently.
In Wales, benefit delays and changes have been the biggest reasons for foodbank use, accounting for forty-five per cent of referrals to Trussell Trust foodbanks.
Low income was the second largest cause of a crisis, accounting for nearly one in four of all referrals (25 per cent) to a Trussell Trust foodbank, driven by problems such as low pay, insecure work or rising costs.
Tony Graham, Foodbank Network Manager for Wales at The Trussell Trust, comments:
“As the number of emergency food parcels provided to people in Wales by foodbanks rises once again, it’s clear that more can be done to get people back on their feet faster. Many foodbanks now host independent welfare advisers but they cannot solve all the issues.
“To stop hunger in Wales we must make sure the welfare system works fairly and compassionately, stopping people getting to a point where they have no money to eat. It feels like we could be seeing a new era at the DWP with a consultation on Work Capability Assessments and willingness to engage in dialogue with charities working on the front line. A telephone hotline could build on this and go a long way to improving foodbanks ability to help get people out of a crisis faster.”
Evidence from The Trussell Trust network of foodbanks suggests foodbank managers, volunteers and welfare advisers spend a significant amount of time on hold to DWP phone lines on behalf of people in crisis.
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