Local foodbank says demand has increased more than five times
A volunteer at Hammersmith & Fulham Food Bank. Picture: Grahame Larter/Reach
A report published by the council shows that 24,000 residents have been furloughed, and a further 10,490 are now claiming out-of-work benefits such as Universal Credit.
This was double the pre-Covid figure of people on benefits – 4,600.
The council report also included a projection that employment levels have fallen by three per cent, with a loss of 5,000 jobs. And that the borough’s economy could shrink by seven per cent by the end of 2020.
Meanwhile, the UK’s biggest food bank charity, the Trussell Trust, has revealed it is handing out five times more food parcels in Hammersmith and Fulham.
Between April and September, the charity opened a fourth food bank in the borough and gave out a total of 25,195 parcels, including 8,321 to children.
In the same six-month period last year, the Trussell Trust’s three local food banks gave out 5,755 food parcels, including 1,812 to children.
Across London, 210,006 emergency food parcels were given to people struggling to afford essentials by the 115 food banks in the Trussell Trust network, a rise of more than 100 per cent from last year.
But the Trussell Trust’s food banks are only one piece of the picture. Many other London boroughs have food banks run by smaller charities or independent community groups.
Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, said: “This pandemic has shown the unexpected can hit us suddenly, with devastating consequences for people’s lives. But it’s also shown we can make huge changes to the way we live and look after each other.”
At a council meeting on November 10, where officers and councillors discussed the local economy, it was said that Hammersmith and Fulham has a high number of people in hospitality and retail.
Karen Galey, the council’s assistant director for the economy, said: “18 per cent of all jobs in the borough are in the hospitality and retail sector, because of the presence of Westfield, so I think some of those larger projections [about job losses] are based on the fact that, as much as we’re a resilient borough, we have a very vulnerable sector.”
She added: “We have some of the highest rates of working from home among the West London boroughs We have a higher than average number of people in managerial occupations and highly-skilled occupations.”
If you want to volunteer at local food banks or other causes in Hammersmith and Fulham, visit the website for H&F Community Aid Network.
Owen Sheppard/Annie Gouk - Local Democracy Reporters
November 13, 2020