Foodbanks see spike in uptake following lockdown

Low income families in Suffolk are having to relying on foodbank parcels like this, which Suffolk Co

The third coronavirus lockdown has caused rising referral rates for foodbanks - Credit: Archant

Foodbanks are already seeing rising requests for their help across Suffolk thanks to lockdown. 

Centres across the county have already seen referral rates rise as the number of families needing their help grows. 

Stowmarket and Area Foodbank manager Mike Smith said volunteers were working hard to meet demand Picture: GREGG BROWN

Mike Smith said there had been a spike in demand - Credit: Gregg Brown

Mike Smith from the Stowmarket Foodbank said: "From what we can see there is a spike in demand."

Mr Smith said that local schools had been referring more families to the foodbank after a "lag" in free school meal vouchers arriving. 

"At this time of years there's a demand on keeping the house warm," said Mr Smith. 

"Some times there's a decision of heat or eat."

The community centre used by the foodbank is currently closed because of restrictions. Mr Smith said that anyone making donations should drop them off at pick up points in local supermarkets.  

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Mr Smith said they were waiting to see how shoppers heading out less would impact on their pick up points. 

Henry Wilson has been awarded an MBE for services to the community in Haverhill. Picture: RAECH

Henry Wilson said that things would continue to be bad for some time to come - Credit: Archant

Henry Wilson project director at the Reach Haverhill said that the foodbank there was preparing for what was still yet to come. 

"We have been inundated with food," said Mr Wilson. 

"Our message is that while we are not asking for anything, we are still accepting donations."

Mr Wilson said that he expected to see demand continue to increase. 

"We have had such a busy December," said Mr Wilson. 

"It was 20% up on last December.

"January and February are busy months and this is already proving to be the case."

Mr Wilson said that the debt advice the service provides was also seeing an increase in use from all areas of society. 

He said that he believed things would get worse before they got better and it wasn't immediately clear when things would end

"We think it's going to get big and people are going to need help, " said Mr Wilson. 

Maureen Reynel MBE, founder of FIND foodbank in Ipswich Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Maureen Reynel MBE, founder of FIND foodbank in Ipswich Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Maureen Reynel founder of FIND in Ipswich said that the situation there had continued to be tough. 

"The numbers have increased again," said Mrs Reynel. 

"Every day there are over 30 referrals. 

"It's not just people who we have had before. Obviously more people are struggling.

"We have just got to keep going."

Mrs Reynel said that the some volunteers had, had to step back because of the virus but she was hoping to bring new ones in soon. 

What items would foodbanks like?


Tinned meat 

Tinned fish

Tinned potatoes


Any donations accepted

Fresh food (contact Mrs Reynel 01473 833351)

Plastic bags

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