Islington’s The Arc Foodbank running ‘at capacity’

“We’re at capacity,” and Islington foodbank has said as cost-of-living pressures cause demand to rise nationally.

Voluntary groups are seeing fewer financial and food donations and fewer volunteers, according to a survey by the giving platform Neighbourly.

Two thirds of small voluntary organisations across the UK have seen a drop-off in financial donations, and six in 10 reported receiving less food donated by the public directly or via supermarkets, the survey suggests.

Separate research from the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) tracking donor behaviour found that nearly one in ten people (9%) said they held back from making a one-off donation last month.

The Arc Foodbank in Islington, north London, is working at a full capacity and has a waiting list.

Coordinator Melissa Clarke said: “Many in our neighbourhood are struggling to make ends meet and are in need of ongoing help, not just for an emergency.

“Life is now a constant emergency for many.”

Neighbourly surveyed 1,374 local charity and community organisations supporting 528,953 people across the UK and Ireland at the end of September.

It found that 61% have seen a drop in fundraising opportunities and 55% received fewer donations of surplus food from businesses. One in four (27%) reported fewer people able to volunteer.

It said it is seeing a significant rise in requests for help from people who are in work.

Almost half of the groups surveyed are planning to provide warm places for people struggling to afford energy bills, also known as ‘warm banks’.

Yet over half (51%) are concerned about their organisation’s own ability to keep afloat with energy bills.

Neighbourly chief executive Steve Butterworth said its survey findings are “stark” and “yet another reminder of the precarious position we find ourselves in”.

He said: “Relatively speaking we are still in the early stages of this cost-of-living crisis and this situation will intensify over the coming months, with a growing proportion of the UK population struggling, many of which will never have needed support like this before.

“It is therefore imperative that the government lays out a clear vision of support for those in financial difficulty and ensures the charities and organisations that support them are not left behind.”

A separate survey of 1,376 charities that receive food from the UK charity FareShare, found that nine in 10 have seen increased demand, with 29% reporting that need has more than doubled.

Nine in 10 said they are worried they cannot meet the extra demand and need access to more food (74%) and funding (64%).

The majority of charities said they were worried about covering fuel and transport costs, securing enough food and income, and maintaining volunteers.

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