Fylde Foodbank has extended its opening hours at its St Anne’s base to ensure that it can meet the increased demand during the pandemic. The Foodbank’s centre at St Anne’s United Reform Church annex on St George’s Road is now open on Tuesdays from 11.00 a.m. until 1.00 p.m. and on Thursdays from 10.00 a.m. until 1.00 p.m. All clients must still be in receipt of a food bank voucher. Donations, especially of tinned items, tea, coffee and long life milk, can be also handed in to the Church on Wednesdays from 11.00 a.m. until 1.00 p.m.
These donations are currently most welcome as the number of people visiting Foodbanks has increased rapidly over the last few weeks of the lock-down. Food banks across the country are reporting dramatic increases as people seek assistance after losing their income. Whilst there are no official figures yet on how lockdown has affected food bank use, Knowsley Foodbank in Merseyside has said demand has tripled. Gateshead Foodbank said its distributions have doubled, and it’s a similar picture at Manchester Central Foodbank.
One of London’s Foodbank founders, Daphine Aikens MBE, told Sky News that demand for donated food was already too high, but in these circumstances it will continue to rise. She said: ‘There is a built-in five-week wait for Universal Credit, there are thousands of people signing up to Universal Credit for the first time. They are in a crisis situation – what is going to happen to those people? How are they meant to survive?’ It has also been noted by Foodbank volunteers that a lot of the users are previously self-employed or working mums whose part-time jobs have disappeared.