The Mayor of Lewisham, Damien Egan, has opened a new donation point for Lewisham Food Bank in the Town Hall.
People visiting the Town Hall can now drop off donations that support Lewisham’s food bank in giving emergency supplies of food to people in crisis. There are also new donation points at the Council-run libraries in Deptford, Downham and Lewisham.
The donation points were installed following the Mayor of Lewisham’s visit to Lewisham Food Bank last month, where he met volunteers and spoke to people who had been referred there.
Lewisham Food Bank is giving out more emergency food parcels to people in crisis than ever. Almost a decade of Government austerity and the roll out of Universal Credit, the largest welfare reform in a generation, mean more people are experiencing financial issues and having to turn to food banks.
Damien Egan, Mayor of Lewisham, said: “Austerity is hitting Lewisham hard. The Tory Government has presided over a shocking rise of food bank use and the roll out of Universal Credit is making it even harder for people to make ends meet. Food banks are not a solution to food poverty and we need a fundamental change in Government policy to tackle the inequalities in our society. In the meantime, they are desperately needed, which is why we are supporting Lewisham Food Bank by setting up these new donation points.
“As a campaigning council, we will continue to urge the Tory Government to reverse its damaging cuts and reform Universal Credit, so that our most vulnerable residents are protected from austerity.”
Research from the Trussell Trust shows that almost a quarter (24%) of food bank referrals in the UK are due to benefit delays. As Universal Credit is rolled out in Lewisham, more residents are experiencing a five week delay before receiving their first payment. Not only does this have severe and immediate financial implications for people but it can also have an effect on their mental and physical health.
By 2024, every Lewisham household claiming housing benefit will have migrated to Universal Credit. Unless the five week delay to payments is ended, this has serious implications for the future.
Carol Bostridge, Co-Ordinator for Lewisham Food Bank, said: “No one should have to face going hungry in our society. Unfortunately, more people across the country are finding themselves in crisis and having to rely on food banks. We are grateful for the Mayor of Lewisham for his support, as the generosity of residents and local organisations is vital to running our food bank.”