Central Bedfordshire bucks national Food Bank trends with 'alarming' decrease
and live on Freeview channel 276
According to the Trussell Trust, which helps run more than 1,500 food banks country wide, this could be because some centres failed to submit data, or provision shifted to other food banks in the area.
Figures from the charity show 2,944 emergency food parcels were handed out between April and September, across four food banks in Central Bedfordshire.
This is a fall from 2,960 during the same period a year before.
But across the UK, a record of nearly 1.5 million parcels were distributed – 200,000 more than in the summer of 2022.
A Trust spokesperson described the record-breaking demand for essentials across the country as "extremely alarming.”
These figures cover parcels handed out by the charity itself, but do not include emergency food supplies provided by other organisations.
Trussell Trust chief executive Emma Revie said: "An increasing number of children are growing up in families facing hunger, forced to turn to food banks to survive.
"A generation is growing up believing that it’s normal to see a food bank in every community.”
The Trust's figures show 1,261 of this summer's food parcels in Central Bedfordshire were for children.
Ms Revie continued: "Rising hunger and hardship have devastating consequences for individuals and our communities, damage the nation’s health and hold back our economy.
"People in work, as well as those who cannot work, are increasingly being pushed into debt and forced to turn to a food bank to survive."
The organisation has called for an ‘essentials guarantee’ – meaning Universal Credit should protect people from going without the basics – and for benefits to rise in line with inflation in this year's Autumn Statement.
A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions said: “We know some families are struggling, which is why we are providing a record support package worth £3,300 per household.
"This includes the latest cost of living payments paid directly to over eight million households this year, our decision to raise benefits by over 10% earlier this year and our £2 billion Household Support Fund which is helping people to buy essentials."