First foodbank set to open in Wandsworth

Wandsworth Guardian: Sarah Chapman at Putney Sainsbury's Sarah Chapman at Putney Sainsbury's

Wandsworth’s first foodbank, helping hundreds of families who are going hungry, is set to open.

The Trussell Trust foodbank estimates it will give out more than 1,400 emergency food parcels a year in the borough with the second highest average income in London.

Staffed by 120 volunteers, the foodbank will not receive any government support.

Sadiq Khan, MP, is appalled this service is needed in Wandsworth. He said: "It is tragic that we are seeing the first ever foodbank opening in Wandsworth. But with the cost of living going up and up, on top of the Government’s cuts to welfare, people are really feeling the pinch.

"I fear many local residents are going to come to rely heavily on the Wandsworth foodbank."

Sarah Chapman, of Pendle Road, Furzedown, who set up the foodbank with friend, Rachel Saebi, said: "There is a perception that this is quite a rich borough but every day people are going hungry in Wandsworth."

Vouchers have been distributed to professionals across the borough who work with people on a daily basis to be handed to those considered to be in need.

These can be redeemed at any of the four churches across the borough running the scheme.

More than 3 tonnes of food have been donated by churches, schools and shoppers at supermarket collections, ready for the foodbank’s opening on May 10.

Donations on this scale will need to continue if, like the Hammersmith and Fulham foodbank, they are to give away 2-3 tonnes of food every month.

Mrs Chapman, 39, thinks demand will be even higher following the recent welfare reforms.

She said: "Because of the benefit changes that came in recently, we're expecting a rise in food poverty across the borough .We're already seeing families with budgets stretched to breaking point and these reforms are going to hit them even harder."

Less than 5 per cent of foodbank clients are homeless and 18 per cent are working but on low incomes.

Mrs Chapman said: "They are hard working families. The rising costs of fuel and food are leaving them without enough food.

"As a mum I can't imagine what it would be like not to have enough food to feed my children."

Trussell Trust executive chairman Chris Mould said: "The sheer volume of people who are turning to foodbanks because they can’t afford food is a wake-up call to the nation that we cannot ignore the hunger on our doorstep."

To find out how you can help, visit wandsworth.foodbank.org.uk/

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