Four tins in a row. Three of chopped tomatos and one of kidney beans.

Need for foodbank parcels for children falls in some South London boroughs

Four boroughs in south west London have seen a reduction in the number of foodbank parcels for children needed from Trussell Trust sites in the first half of the financial year.

Merton, Kensington & Chelsea, Richmond, and Westminster all produced fewer parcels for children between 1 April and 30 September 2023, compared to the same time period the year before. 

This goes against the current trend in London of a rising need for food bank parcels prepared for children, as 22 out of 30 boroughs saw a rise in parcels prepared for children.

When asked why foodbank use was rising in the UK, Tiajh Walton, project manager at Wimbledon Foodbank said: “Life is extremely expensive. Food, fuel, mortgages, interest rates, petrol.

“People are skipping meals because they can’t skip their mortgage payment or they’ll lose their home, they can’t skip the council tax or they’ll be fined, they can’t skip petrol they need to go to work. 

“What can they skip? They skip self-care, food being one of them.” 

One South West London borough seeing the results of the cost of living crisis is Hammersmith & Fulham which saw the highest rise in parcels prepared for children in all of London during that time period, with summer 2023 seeing 78.31% more parcels for children in Hammersmith & Fulham than summer 2022. 

Genevieve Wong, the press officer for Westminster Foodbank, said she was unsure as to why Westminster gave out fewer parcels for children in summer 2023 than in earlier years. 

Walton said the reduction in foodbank use for children in Merton was largely circumstantial as Merton is lucky to have many discount stores including Aldi, Lidl and Iceland where families can get food for a fraction of the price. 

Merton also has many organisations and charities offering helplines including welfare and debt advice.

To people who may be worried about using a foodbank, Walton said: “Everyone needs a little help at some point in their life.

“You never know when you’ll need it.

“We’re in a cost of living crisis at the moment, where more people than ever need that little helping hand today.” 

Croydon and Hounslow are excluded from this data set because their foodbanks have left the Trussell Trust network

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