Community / Foodbank demand on the rise again

More than 1,000 parcels with food supplies were distributed locally in 2018/19

Local foodbank co-ordinator David Grieve. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland News

THE NUMBER of food parcels distributed by Shetland Foodbank over the last financial year rose by over one quarter compared to the previous 12 months.

Figures revealed by the Trussell Trust, which oversees over 1,200 foodbanks in the UK including the local facility in Lerwick, showed that a total of 1,044 packages were issued by the Shetland branch between April 2018 and March this year.

Nearly 840 of these were for adults, with the remainder – 206 – designated for children.

This represented a 27 per cent increase on the corresponding period in 2017/18.

Charity Trussell Trust said during the past year 1,583,668 three-day emergency food supplies were given to people in crisis in the UK – an increase of nearly 20 per cent.

The main reasons for demand were benefits not covering the cost of living and delays or changes to benefits being paid, with the roll-out of Universal Credit often pinpointed as a cause for concern.


Chief executive Emma Revie said: “Ultimately, it’s unacceptable that anyone should have to use a food bank in the first place.

“No charity can replace the dignity of having financial security. That’s why in the long-term, we’re urging the government to ensure benefit payments reflect the true cost of living and work is secure, paying the real Living Wage, to help ensure we are all anchored from poverty.”

Isles MP Alistair Carmichael has meanwhile called on works and pensions secretary Amber Rudd to admit the Universal Credit doesn’t work and return it to the drawing board.

“It is wrong that so many people in the isles are being forced to rely on emergency food supplies because of the Conservative government’s five week wait for Universal Credit,” the MP said.

“Universal Credit was introduced gradually and with several pilot schemes. That seems to have been a waste of time, as Conservative ministers seem determined not to learn any of the lessons from the pilot schemes and refused to make any changes.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


“There is no excuse for this. The government have got to pause Universal Credit and think again, something I have been calling for over the last couple of years.”

Shetland Foodbank co-ordinator David Grieve previously said he would “really love to be able to announce the closure of our food bank because we no longer need it, but I don’t expect to see that happen, unfortunately.”

The local branch, located on St Magnus Street, receives support from individuals, organisations and businesses.

It is particularly on the lookout during April for items like tins of rice pudding, jam, tins of corned beef and mince, instant or tinned potatoes and UHT or dried milk.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.