Cost of living crisis: Seven in 10 charities reporting people accessing help for first time

Charities are struggling to cope with soaring demand, particularly from increasing numbers of people asking for help for the first time, a survey is warning.

More than seven in 10 (73%) charities are warning that they are supporting people for the first time as they battle to meet increasing demand for their help.

As double-digit inflation hits household budgets more than half of charities (51%) are warning that those they are helping are in full employment and six in ten are families with children.

Just under nine in ten (89%) saw they are worried they cannot meet the extra demand.

The findings have emerged in a survey of the 9,500 charities supported by FareShare, which works with the food industry to distribute surplus food.

Rising cost of food is cited by 82% of charities as the reason for increased demand, while seven in ten say soaring energy bills are the key factor. Five in ten (54%) of charities surveyed say that mental health issues are increasing.

To meet demand three quarters (76%) of charities say they need more food to distribute, while almost two thirds (64%) are calling for extra funding.

More than nine in ten charities say demand for their services has increased since January due to rising costs.

“The cost-of-living crisis is driving millions into food insecurity, at a time when food prices are rising, and demand for our surplus food has skyrocketed,” said FareShare chief executive Lindsay Boswell.

“What we are hearing from the charities we support is that this situation will only worsen, and they are worried they may not be able to meet the extra demand.”

FareShare is running a Cost-of-Living Crisis Appeal to boost food distribution to charities. It has announced that two of its supporters Mike and Helen Brown, have offered to match the first £250,00 of donations to the appeal.

Among charities supported by FareShare is Tunbridge Wells pop up café charity Charlie’s Angels Kitchens.

“I have seen a lot more people coming along over the past six months, and a lot of them are getting food from us for the first time,” said the charity’s founder Charlie Moore.

“I'm starting to see so many more young people coming in who just can’t make ends meet.

“They’re all working, whether it’s young parents getting food for their family, or a 20-year-old doing in-work training, struggling to afford basic necessities with their last £10 in their bank account. They’re all really concerned about the cost-of-living crisis.”

Last week the Julia and Hans Rausing Trust handed more than £3.5m to food bank charity the Trussell Trust to support its emergency appeal amid the cost-of-living crisis.

The Foundation has promised to make further donations to charities battling food poverty due to the impact of inflation on low-income households.

“We are seeing a level of fear in people that we haven’t seen before,” said one of the Trust’s food bank managers.

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