August 2020 -2021
That’s us at the end of our 3rd year of running the food bank. It’s been a year of 2 halves. From August 2020 to the middle of January 2021 we were incredibly busy. We continued to deliver food parcels to households 2-3 times a week and did double shifts over the festive season as our numbers doubled over Christmas. We were chosen by Aldi to come to their store in Polmont on Christmas Eve and take crates full of amazing food. We were able to give out bumper food parcels to many households over Christmas along with lots of gifts donated by people in the Braes Community. We also shared our massive Aldi donation with the NU2U Charity in Grangemouth to ensure their families had enough to eat as well at Christmas.
Then in January everything changed! The free school meal money that the government started to give to families on benefits and low incomes during the school holidays, along with the extra £20 per week in Universal Credit really made a difference in lifting people out of poverty. Our referrals gradually started to drop and have remained low since the start of the year until now. We are now back to delivering on Tuesdays only with the occasional emergency food parcel required every so often on a different day. This enabled us to give our volunteers a well-deserved rest after such a busy year since lockdown last March. It was also wonderful for us to know that people were able to go the shops themselves and buy their own food for their families.
Last summer we supported 17 families for the full 8 weeks. This year we only needed to support 3 referred families and only for 3 weeks of the summer holidays. That’s incredible! As well as the additional money outlined above, many families on benefits or low-incomes, also received a pandemic payment of £100 per child at the start of the summer. These figures speak for themselves. This additional financial support has made a huge difference to families in the Braes area and I’m sure up and down the country.
That’s the good news! However, we at the Braes Storehouse Food Bank are using the funding we’ve been given to stock up our shelves again as unfortunately the £20 Universal Credit uplift is about to stop and furlough ends at the end of September, not to mention the rising cost of energy. This will not only affect people on benefits but will affect many working families on low incomes. We fear that once again food aid providers will need to support an increasing number of households struggling financially. We send our statistics to IFAN (Independent Food Aid Network) on a monthly basis and have had conversations with members from the government’s Food Insecurity Team regarding the difference the cash-first approach is making, and we whole-heartedly support the Scottish, Welsh and Irish governments campaign in asking for a U-turn on ending the £20 Universal Credit uplift. Our vision for the food bank when we opened it was that we could close it!! We long for the day where people have fair wages, secure work, an adequate social security system and payments enabling people to buy adequate, healthy and nutritious food for themselves in shops of their own choosing. That’s giving people dignity. That’s our hope.
We are so grateful to:
- Our referrers who work alongside us in supporting many of the people using our food bank.
- The Braes community and beyond who have continued to give us donations of food, toiletries and household items as well as financial donations.
- The local shops and businesses who continue to support us, especially Tesco and Aldi who give us surplus donations every week.
- Our wonderful team of volunteers who help us run the food bank week in and week out and who bring us so much joy and laughter as we work together running the food bank. It truly is a team effort!
- Most of all we are grateful to God who has strengthened us and enabled us to keep on going throughout what has been the most challenging 18 months of running the food bank. We have lacked nothing and have even been able to support other food aid providers and charities/community groups from the abundance of food, toiletries and household items given to us.
In the last 12 months we delivered food to 72 households across the Braes area, supporting 258 people in total (134 adults and 124 children). It has been a joy for us to serve in our community getting to know these people and their families.
Below is a breakdown of our statistics for Year 3: August 2020 – August 2021
|Number of Referrals||Number of People Supported||Referrals made by:-|
|Total: 72 referrals made for households across the Braes area||258 people in total|
Maddiston Family Centre – 17
Falkirk Council Support for People – 16
Primary and Secondary Schools – 13
Health Visitors – 9
Social Work – 4
Citizens Advice Bureau – 3
Barnardos – 2
MP – 1
Falkirk Council East Hub – 1
Church – 1
Cyrenians – 1
Central Hub Callendar Square – 1
Housing Officer – 1
Falkirk Families Information & Support Line – 1
DWP – 1
|Holiday Hunger June-August 21: 3 families.||16 people in total|
|Shieldhill Primary School|
Whitecross Primary School
If you have any further questions or need further information, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
James and Angie Lawder