THE number of people in Northwich and Winsford relying on the foodbank to feed their families is soaring at a colossal rate.

The Mid Cheshire Foodbank, which provides food parcels to people in crisis across the area, has released its annual statistics, showing again that the amount of people turning to the foodbank is increasing year on year.

Between April 2018 and March 2019, 6,569 three-day emergency food parcels to Northwich and Winsford residents, of which 2,365 of the emergency parcels went to children.

This year’s figure shows a 19.2 per cent increase on last year, which is in line with the national rise across all foodbanks operated by the Trussell Trust.

However, a three-year increase at Mid Cheshire Foodbank of 113 per cent is much greater than the national three-year climb.

Nationally, 1.58 million three-day parcels were given out over the past year. This was also a 19 per cent increase on the previous year, but a three-year increase of 43 per cent.

Jo Rafferty, manager of Mid Cheshire Foodbank, says the biggest reason that people are referred to her foodbank is low income.

Jo said: “Mid Cheshire Foodbank shares the concerns of other foodbanks in the Trussell Trust’s network about Universal Credit – it is not the only benefit payment people referred to the foodbank have experienced problems with, but the issues faced by local people moving onto the new system are significant. However the biggest single reason for referrals to the foodbank is people on low incomes.

“No one in mid Cheshire should need a foodbank’s help and we want to see an end to local people needing emergency food at all.

“Until we reach a future where foodbanks are no longer needed, we’ll continue to provide vital support when it matters most. We’re dedicated to ensuring that people in our community without enough money for food are able to access emergency support.

“Our vital work in the community has only been possible in the last year because of the incredible generosity shown by local people in donating food, time and funds. Mid Cheshire Foodbank is run totally by volunteers and I would like to thank all our volunteers for their great contribution during the last year.”