Surge in struggling families seeking help from foodbanks
THE number of people using foodbanks in the Swansea Bay area has shot up in the last 12 months.
Some centres have seen an almost doubling of the amount of people they are feeding.
Tony Graham, Wales Manager for the Trussell Trust, which runs foodbanks across the area, said the most shocking aspect of the surge in foodbank use is the number of people who work who still need help to feed themselves and their families.
In the six months from April 1 to September 30 this year the number of people using the Swansea foodbank rose to 1,583, compared to 832 last year.
The Neath centre saw 1,403 people, up from 838 in 2012. The Llanelli foodbank fed 1,302 people, compared to 962 in 2012 and the Carmarthen centre's users rose from 333 to 430.
Mr Graham said it was not just people out of work who were seeking help to feed their families.
"That is the shocking thing," he said. "We are seeing people on minimum wage and those on low incomes.
"We are seeing a rise in the percentage of people who are in work who are asking for help."
David Ward, manager of the Swansea foodbank, which is based in Gorseinon, and which is part of the Trussell Trust, said: "We have certainly seen an increase without any shadow of a doubt.
"We opened in Gorseinon in 2010 and there has been an increase year on year. There are different reasons, as well as the economic situation, why we have grown as more people have got to know about us. We have now been able to help 5,000 people and we anticipate the demand will continue to grow for the foreseeable future."
Mr Graham said that across Wales the number of foodbanks had almost doubled, but the number of people helped had almost trebled.
He added: "Trussell Trust foodbanks across Wales provide a much needed and vital lifeline to people facing hunger, but far fewer people should be needing them and the rise in numbers we are reporting today must sound an alarm.
"There's been an increase in the number of foodbanks but in the existing foodbanks the number of people are increasing as a direct result of shrinking budgets and low incomes."