Numbers using Carrick foodbank on the rise

Stacking the shelves at the Trussell Trust Carrickfergus Foodbank. INCT 16-340-PR
Stacking the shelves at the Trussell Trust Carrickfergus Foodbank. INCT 16-340-PR

The number of emergency food packs distributed by a Carrickfergus foodbank has more than doubled in the past 12 months.

According to figures released today by the Trussell Trust charity, over 332 three-day emergency supplies of food were handed out at the local centre during the 2015/2016 financial year.

This compared to 150 in the same period in 2014/2015.

Almost 1000 people - 559 adults and 428 children - were helped by the Woodburn Road-based facility in the past year, with almost 8.74 tonnes of food donated.

The foodbank also had over 40 volunteers help out at various times throughout the year.

Meanwhile, the top three reasons for foodbank referral in Carrick were low income, benefit delays, and benefit changes.

As well as providing emergency food, the centre provides essentials like washing powder, nappies and hygiene products when available to families who are struggling, as well as signposting them to other services in the local area.

Gwen Smyth from Carrickfergus foodbank said: “We have helped people in many crisis situations from sudden job loss, illness, homelessness, separation along with debt, benefit delays and so on.

“We are very grateful for the ongoing support of the community, and hope that one day there will be no need for us in Carrickfergus. But until that day comes, we will continue to offer the best possible service to help local people facing a crisis.”

For the first time, The Trussell Trust has worked with data scientists, business model specialists and academics to create the UK’s first ever dynamic visualisation tool for crises leading to foodbank use, and to compare foodbank data with deprivation indices from the 2011 census and other open data.

Early findings suggest foodbank use is highest in areas where there are more people who are unable to work due to long term sickness or disability; in skilled work; or deprived.