Four Salford foodbanks are at risk of closure for good due to lack of funding.
About 50 people showed up at Go Church in Salford last night to discuss a solution and ideas after hearing the foodbanks are yet again are facing potential closure of all its four foodbanks in the next four months.
The demand is now greater than ever and over the last year the foodbanks have fed approximately 5740 people of which 41% were children. This shows an increase of 24% more food parcels than the previous year.
A report from the foodbank’s partner, Trussel Trust, shows over the last five years the steepest ever increase in people needing foodbanks in the UK, from 650,000 in 2018, to nearly 850,000 in 2019.
Chair of trustees, Matthew Chandler, says that the foodbanks are struggling to keep up with the growth in demand over the last few years.
He said: “We have expanded to try and meet the level of demand, as it has been rising steadily over the years since 2012.
“We have not been able to regroup and follow that level of growth. We are probably going to feed about 20% more people in Salford this year compared too last year.”
The foodbanks are facing three key areas which they need to improve over the coming months.
They would have to work on solutions for finance, building space and leadership.
These areas were the main focus during the emergency meeting last night. Matthew Chandler says there is a substantial gap in reliable income and the operational costs.
“We have a budget gap currently about 45 000 between our reliable income that we know are coming, in and our cost for the existing model,” he said.
The foodbank’s main building is scheduled for demolition at some point, and they would have to move out. Matthew Chandler added: “We need more sets of hands to address the key areas of improvement.
“A couple of trustees including myself will be stepping down in a few months, so we need people to come in and replace that.”
After the discussion part of the meeting the attendees were able to give suggestions and ideas to help saving the foodbanks’ future.
There were three different tables which was sorted in the three key areas of finance, building spaces and leadership. One of the trustees, Naomi Whitman, is really positive after the feedback they have received from the 50 people attending.
She said: “This was a really positive evening where people could come and offer new ideas and suggestions that would bring people to a place where they felt more ownership to the foodbank as well.
“I really felt like there was a lot of energy for it and obviously a lot of passion to keep it going, and you can tell that the heart of the people is to feed the people in Salford.
“I have seen a few of the ideas, and I feel like there have been many good solutions that we will follow up on.”
According to Salford foodbank’s website the centers have been a lifeline for over 20,000 people in Salford since they opened in 2012.
Fears have now been raised about what will happen if the centers closed.
Foodbank coordinator, Merlyn Gledhill, said: “Through desperation they would steal, they would shop-lift, and a woman even said she would prostitute herself (saying) ‘I’ll do whatever it takes to feed my kids’.”