Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Fall Is Recorded in Food Bank Take-Up; TYNESIDE REMAINS A HEAVY USER OF THEM, HOWEVER

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Fall Is Recorded in Food Bank Take-Up; TYNESIDE REMAINS A HEAVY USER OF THEM, HOWEVER

Article excerpt

Byline: HANNAH GRAHAM Reporter hannah.graham@trinitymirror.com @HannahGraham21

THE number of emergency food supplies handed out on Tyneside is going down - but the area still has one of the highest rates of food bank usage in the country.

Figures from the Trussell Trust, which runs food banks across the country, show that 42,093 three-day emergency food supply parcels were provided to people in crisis in Newcastle and Gateshead by its banks in 2015-16 - down from 57,859 the year before.

In comparison, the amount of emergency supplies given out in Manchester had nearly doubled between 2014-15 and 2015-16.

But the number of food parcels distributed from Tyneside's four Trussell Trust food banks still far outweighs the 9,359 doled out by Manchester's five.

Michael Nixon is the project manager at Newcastle's West End Food Bank, which, even with the recent fall in use, remains by far the busiest in the country.

He said the drop in numbers was welcome - but noted that the numbers of people using the food bank had started to creep up over the past three months.

He said: "We had a quiet patch from October through to April or May, but numbers are rising again.

"Over the last three months we can trace quite a significant increase, which is not attributable to the school holidays, although they don't help, as families miss out on free school meals."

A big probably now asking provide and proof Sheila " Michael believes that the overall drop may be due to fewer people being hit with benefit sanctions.This, he said, may partly be down to a change in public opinion subtly affecting political policy.

"There has been a gradual shift in people's attitudes towards food banks - they don't think everyone is just a scrounger from Benefits Street, which does change politicians' behaviour."

But he said the recent rise might also be down to the introduction of Universal Credit (UC), which merges all benefit payments into one monthly sum. …

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