BASINGSTOKE Foodbank is preparing for influx of new users as the cost of living problems begin to hit people hard. 

With the price of food, fuel, and bills rising, and inflation hitting a 40-year high, more and more people are turning to foodbanks to feed them and their families.

That is no different in Basingstoke, with foodbanks in Basingstoke and Deane preparing to see a rise in the number of users.

The Trussell Trust, which supports the Basingstoke Foodbank, has predicted a 14 per cent rise in users nationwide due to the cost-of-living crisis.

According to Basingstoke Foodbank chair of trustees Phil Thomas, the provision has not yet seen a major influx of new users, but it is preparing see a rise as the crisis continues.

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When asked about whether the number of people it helps has increased, Mr Thomas said: “It’s going up a little.

“Nationally the increase is about 14 per cent, we haven’t seen anything quite as significant as that in Basingstoke yet.

“But we are expecting it, with all that’s happened with the withdrawal of the £20 Universal Credit that happened during Covid being taken away, with the increases in national insurance, with the all the other costs that are going on in terms of energy, petrol, gas, etc, that there will be an increase.

“And we are seeing a small increase at the moment; it is yet to reach crisis proportions, but figures are on the rise.”

Despite the predicted rise in users, Mr Thomas is not worried about any strain on the foodbank's resources.

He said: “Speaking for Basingstoke, we do have a fantastic team of volunteers, and the businesses and people of Basingstoke have been amazingly generous to use both in terms of finance and food.

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“So, at the moment I am confident we can handle an increase in demand.”
Most users are referred to foodbanks from one of more than 100 agencies across Basingstoke such as adult services or GPs.

After being assessed by those agencies, and found to be in need, they are sent to the foodbank with an e-voucher which entitles them to food; the foodbank will then assess the user’s situation, such as if they live alone or are part of a family unit, as well as dietary needs, before providing them with three days’ worth of crisis supplies of food, the contents of which will give the user a balanced diet.

Basingstoke Foodbank was established in 2012 and has six branches in Basingstoke and Deane. In 2021 the foodbank provided over 8,500 three-day supplies to foodbank users.

Alongside providing food, the foodbank also funds an officer from Citizens Advice to sit inside the foodbank when it is open, so anyone who is having benefit issues or debt problems can receive immediate help; the foodbank is hoping to also be able to provide mental health support to foodbank users in the future.

More information about the Basingstoke Foodbank can be found on its website: 

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