Hamilton District Foodbank provided 3,177 three day emergency food supplies to local people between 1st April and 30th September this year. Of this number, 1,038 went to children.

The foodbank, a member of The Trussell Trust’s network which has today reported a UK-wide increase foodbank use, is concerned its help will be even more needed in the next six months of the year, as the colder weather draws in.

The figures are a 33% increase on the same period last year. The charity believes the local increase is due to people struggling with continued issues with benefit payments, issues with Universal Credit and insecure work

Said Christina McKelvie MSP Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse: "The crazed UK benefits system is increasing poverty in Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse. The relationship between that reality and the increase in demand upon Hamilton District Foodbank is direct and undeniable. 

"Volunteers at the foodbank are clearly seeing the damage to people's lives through the failed Universal Credit system. On average , in the first few months following a rollout, there is an increase of 13% in foodbank use. After a year, that figure has increased to 52%"

Isobel Graham, Foodbank Manager of Hamilton District Foodbank said:

“It’s a real concern that in only six months we’ve provided 3,177 emergency supplies to local people. These figures don’t even cover our busiest time of year - as the colder weather draws in, we often find more people needing our help.

“It’s not right that anyone in Hamilton District is being forced to turn to our foodbank. Our volunteers offer vital support when it matters most, but they should not need to. We want to see an end to local people needing emergency food – with a benefits system that catches people before they fall into crisis, and secure work that provides people with enough money to cover the cost of essentials, we could reach that future. We’re determined to make sure that until that time comes, emergency help is here for people, but there needs to be some long-term change because we don’t want to be here forever.”  

The charity has asked for festive donations to be donated in early December at the latest, to ensure volunteers have enough time to process and distribute these donations to people before Christmas. 

The running costs for the foodbank are around £5,000 a year, all of which is raised locally to enable them to continue their work. Costs include warehouse and distribution space to sort and stock donated food, and other overheads like utilities and insurances. The foodbank welcomes any new offers of help with funding – local businesses, organisations and individuals interested in supporting the foodbank’s work can find out more at https://hamiltondistrict.foodbank.org.uk/

"I really encourage the people who can to help the ones that can't afford to buy adequate food for Christmas," added Christina. "Poverty does not discriminate and no one chooses to be there. Let us all do whatever we can to help and to donate to the Hamilton District Foodbank."