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Coronavirus / Number of children receiving support from foodbank increases fourfold

THE NUMBER of children who received help from the Shetland Foodbank last month was 400 per cent more compared to the same period the previous year.

The foodbank said much of this increase is likely to be because children are at home while schools are shut, “putting more demand on family budgets for food, electricity, heating and more”.

Overall the number of food parcels distributed by the Lerwick foodbank in April was 40 per cent up on the previous year.

The foodbank also pointed to a number of parents probably not working either, who are “also at home adding to the financial strain”.

“The foodbank is coping well with the rise in demand,” it added in an update earlier this week.

“Food stocks are good, helped by food coming in from both the Scottish government and from the national support effort organised by Tesco.

“These two sources have really helped to boost our normal regular food donations coming in through local shops and other sources including the Co-op.

“Where necessary we have also been able to buy in additional food and toiletries using the funds which we have received from many different sources.”

The rise in foodbank use allies with a national increase in unemployment and uptake of benefits.

The Trussell Trust, which oversees a network of foodbanks in the UK including Shetland, said nationally there was an 89 per cent increase in demand for support during April this year compared with 2019, and a 107 per cent rise in support for children.