Stephen welcomes new foodbank in Splott – and calls on government to ‘face up to the epidemic of hidden hunger’

THE launch of Cardiff Foodbank’s fifth distribution centre has been welcomed by Stephen, AM Vaughan Gething, and local councillors – who called on the Tory/Lib-Dem government to ‘face up to the growing epidemic of hidden hunger’.

(l-r) Foodbank volunteer Helen Nolan, Stephen, Vaughan Gething AM, Fr Dean Atkins, Ian Purcell of Cardiff Foodbank, and Cllr Huw Thomas.

(l-r) Foodbank volunteer Helen Nolan, Stephen, Vaughan Gething AM, Fr Dean Atkins, Ian Purcell of Cardiff Foodbank, and Cllr Huw Thomas.

Stephen, Vaughan and Splott councillor Huw Thomas joined foodbank volunteers at the opening of the new centre at St Saviour’s church on Splott Road on Thursday (May 1).

The number of people in crisis visiting Cardiff Foodbank centres has risen dramatically, from 2,770 in 2011, to an expected 9,000 this year – with more than 900 in March alone.

The new distribution centre has been opened in partnership with the parish of St German’s and St Saviour’s, in an attempt to meet the needs of people in the area who are struggling to provide food for themselves and their families.

Stephen said: “As a long term supporter of the work of foodbanks in our communities, I welcome the opening of the new centre in Splott and congratulate the dedicated volunteers, and Fr Dean Atkins at St Saviour’s, who have helped make this possible.

“However, the fact that so many people are struggling to put food on the table in this day and age is nothing short of scandalous. Under the Tory/Lib-Dem government we’re facing a cost of living crisis, and the growing epidemic of hidden hunger in Cardiff and across the UK should be a wake-up call to Cameron and Clegg.”

The Trussell Trust – the UK’s largest foodbank network which includes Cardiff Foodbank – says static incomes, rising living costs, low pay, underemployment and problems with welfare, especially sanctioning, are significant drivers of the increased demand for assistance; with half of referrals to foodbanks in 2013-14 a result of benefit delays or changes.

Vaughan Gething AM, who is also Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Tackling Poverty, said: “The figures on foodbank use are truly shocking. Increasing numbers of families are unable to put food on their table and meet their basic needs.

“The Tory/Lib-Dem government’s claims of economic recovery simply do not reflect the everyday reality of local people’s lives. As well as supporting the work of foodbanks, we need a UK government that will address the causes of food poverty.”

Splott’s local Labour councillors Huw Thomas, Gretta Marshall and Ed Stubbs praised the volunteers running foodbanks at St Saviour’s and across the city, and encouraged those who are more fortunate to support their work via donations.

Almost 95 per cent of donations to Cardiff Foodbank come from individuals and organisations such as schools and churches.

Ian Purcell, founder and manager of the Cardiff charity, said: “It is our regular, faithful givers who make such a difference.”

* Information on Cardiff Foodbank can be found here.



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