HEAT OR EAT: Demand for Burnley FC in the Community Foodbank soars by almost 80% in a fortnight ahead of rising energy bills

A Burnley food bank has seen demand soar by almost 80% in a fortnight.

Burnley FC in the Community Foodbank provided around 90 food parcels a week during the summer holidays. But volunteers handed out 143 bags last week feeding 331 people, including 139 children, as many working families must use their food shopping money to pay for rising energy costs, according to manager Nathan Norris.

Donations have also plummeted by around 85%.

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Nathan said: “We were expecting to get a lot busier at the end of October but it has hit us earlier than expected. It’s only the ninth month of the year and we’ve already helped just over 30,000 people. We’ve fed more people than last year when we were still at the back end of the pandemic.

Burnley FC in the Community Foodbank manager Nathan Norris. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

“I think people are starting to see the crunch early and they’re trying to put money aside towards their bills.”

Nathan and his team also helped to feed 25 pets last week, with the manager adding: “A lot of single people are feeding their pets before themselves.”

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The crisis is twofold for food banks, with donations also falling.

As a distribution centre, Nathan’s team provides daily essentials to other food banks. But demand has grown so much that they have had to turn down organisations requesting items from outside of the borough in order to prioritise Burnley people.

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Burnley FC in the Community Foodbank volunteer Wayne Phillips loads up pallets following a delivery. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

He said: “People can’t afford to donate any more. The impact on food banks is going to be crazy. If it’s affecting food banks, how is it going to affect families?

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“A lot of food banks are asking for our support because donations are really, really short for everybody. Over the past couple of years, they have had to start purchasing their own food to sustain themselves. If we had to rely on donations tomorrow, we wouldn’t be able to offer food parcels because not enough food is coming in.

“Supermarkets are not purchasing enough food, and they’re buying it from outside the UK. I think they are finding it difficult so they’re not buying in bulk. That’s a big problem.”

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Donation points are available in Lidl and Aldi stores in Burnley, and Padiham Lidl. To make a monetary donation, please visit https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/supportburnleyfoodbank

Burnley FC in the Community Foodbank manager Nathan Norris. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard
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Burnley FC in the Community Foodbank volunteer Wayne Phillips and manager Nathan Norris restock the warehouse following a delivery. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard
Inside the warehouse of the Burnley FC in the Community Foodbank. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard