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‘Heating or eating’: Huddersfield food bank sees numbers increase amid rising living costs

Huddersfield food bank expects more people will be forced to choose between “heating or eating” as their numbers continue to increase.

The Welcome Centre is one of the North of England’s largest food banks.

January 2022 saw the cost-of-living skyrocket as inflation hit its highest recorded levels since 1992, which caused concern for many families already struggling to get by.

Mike Bristow, centre manager at The Welcome Centre, predicts that numbers will continue to get worse after February 2022 saw an increase of 18.9% compared to February 2021.

Mike said: “Last month alone we saw over a thousand people come through our doors needing a food parcel and we envisage that that’s only gonna get worse.”

Rising costs of living have had a huge impact on the clients at The Welcome Centre, with many already struggling due to the pandemic leaving them redundant or suddenly without a job to go back to.

Mike said: “The Welcome Centre is crucial to the families within Kirklees that are really feeling the pinch off the back of what we’ve been through over the past two years.”

The Welcome Centre is massively important for families in Huddersfield and the rest of Kirklees who are struggling with poverty and putting food on the table.

Last year, over 320,000 meals were provided with the food given to families that depend on The Welcome Centre.

Paul Dickinson, delivery driver at The Welcome Centre, said: “I get to know people very well, they’re very grateful all the time and you know they’re happy to see you when you turn up at the door.”

Paul Dickinson said the work he does at The Welcome Centre has been very rewarding and that the organisation is very important for the community.

As the summer months approach, The Welcome Centre hopes that its clients will be given a break from the pressures of paying expensive energy bills as the warmer weather means they will not have to choose between being warm or having food.

However, it is expected that The Welcome Centre will see record numbers going into autumn and winter 2022.

Mike said: “Going into the colder months where people are going to have the heating on, that’s when we really think people will start making that unfortunate choice between heating or eating.”

Providing enough food for a week for a family of four costs The Welcome Centre just over £50.

Community support helps The Welcome Centre make huge differences for families facing poverty and food struggles.

The Welcome Centre welcomes food donations at donation points in Huddersfield’s main supermarkets and financial donations through their website, Facebook donate, CAF or Paypal.

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