Foodbanks in North East Fife face unprecedented demand

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At an event to present £700 raised from local MP Stephen Gethins’ Christmas card design competition, volunteer staff at North East Fife foodbanks in Cupar, Tay Bridgehead, Levenmouth, East Neuk and Storehouse (St Andrews), reported an upsurge in demand for their services.

Over Christmas and New Year, a total of 41 local families, including 60 children, were given food parcels in the Tay Bridgehead area, while in Tayport alone, 16 families with 20 children relied upon donations distributed on January 2. Tay Bridgehead Foodbank volunteer David Myles said demand was “unprecedented” and many families in the area were really struggling. “There is a crisis going on here”

Levenmouth Foodbank reported its biggest rise in uptake with vulnerable single men, in particular, seeking assistance. From December 17 to January 4, the team there processed 105 vouchers feeding 144 adults and 88 children – up from 92 adults and 44 youngsters in 2017. Co-ordinator, Stewart English said: “We have seen an increase of 14% in the last year due to issues with Universal Credit. “People who have managed to get jobs but are having to wait for their first payment are facing weeks without any cash. Many of the people who come to us have mental health issues or addiction and are most likely to be sanctioned and be left with nothing.”

Speaking at the presentation of the money raised, which is being shared by the five foodbanks, Stephen Gethin’s said: “I am very grateful to all sponsors for their generosity. My thanks go to them and the volunteers at foodbanks and those who support them. However, the fact remains that it is shocking that foodbanks have to exist at all and desperately sad that so many children in this area are growing up in real poverty.”

The competition was won by Kilmaron School pupil Hayley Carmichael and supported by a number of local businesses.

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