Coventry & Warwickshire

Coventry food banks bucking national trend

Food bank Image copyright the Trussell Trust/Alexandra Smart

The number of people reliant on food banks in Coventry has dropped "significantly", unlike the rest of the country.

The city has seen a 15% drop in food supplies, yet nationally there has been a 2% increase year on year, claims a food charity.

Trussell Trust says this is due to several factors including rising employment.

However, it is still concerned about low incomes and benefit problems.

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Trussell Trust runs 424 food banks across the UK. In 2014, it saw 18,600 food supplies provided in Coventry, which dropped to 15,800 last year - a 15% fall, said the trust.

In contrast, nearby Birmingham has seen an increase of 6%, with 32,290 (2014/15) to 34,297 food supplies (2015/16).

Hugh McNeil is the manager at the Coventry Foodbank run by the Trust: "We have seen a significant decline in the last year.

"There has been an increase in jobs available within Coventry in the service industry with big companies like Jaguar Land Rover and London Taxi Company."

However, he fears these jobs are often low paid and anticipates seeing some of these people turning to food banks in future.

Image copyright the Trussell Trust/Alexandra Smart
Image caption Advice surgeries have been held in Coventry for food bank users

He said advice surgeries provided in the last 16 months have seen "£270,000 of finances" returned to people in the form of debts restructured, people claiming benefits they did not know they were entitled to and people sanctioned and lodging appeals.

However, he is cautious about the impact of changes in welfare benefits that could force people to return to food banks.

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