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Dundee charity reaches out as post-Christmas slump fails to materialise

Rizwan has already noticed a difference following Universal Credit.
Rizwan has already noticed a difference following Universal Credit.

The demand for Tayside foodbanks shows no sign of slowing as the traditional post-Christmas lull failed to materialise.

Taught By Muhammad deliver food parcels to households throughout Dundee.

Over the festive period, the group saw a “huge” increase in people relying on its service, with 
referrals for food packages jumping from 80 to almost 180.

Volunteers were asked to work increased hours to cover the festive spike.

The charity, part of the Yussuf Youth Initiative, usually notice a slump in referrals in the weeks and months after the new year.

The consistent high demand for services and a change in volunteers has led to the charity asking for Dundonians to help organise and deliver food to those in need.

Operations manager Rizwan Rafik explained: “We usually notice a dip in referrals after Christmas, but it hasn’t happened yet. It hasn’t got any quieter, it’s still pretty busy.

“It can vary day to day, sometimes we have seven or eight deliveries a day, sometimes one, but it hasn’t got any quieter like we expect.”

Angus Foodbank manager Norman Brown revealed he, too, has seen an increase in referrals.

According to Mr Brown, the Angus foodbank has seen a 38% increase in referrals in the past year due to a change in the way benefits are coordinated.

He explained: “We had expected to see an increase, but we hadn’t expected the increase to be quite as high as it has been. In Angus last year we fed 2710 people. This year we have now fed 3590 people, an increase of 38%.

“If demand does increase then I will need a lot more volunteers and stock. Our stock is reducing because we are giving out a whole lot more.”

The chairman of Perth foodbank, Michael Archibald, said it is not “poor people” who use their services, but those who have “no reserves”.

“We were very busy in January. The build-up is not before Christmas, it’s after the New Year in fact. That’s the way it works out,” he said.
“As often as not, it’s someone who needs help that week as they don’t have enough for the weans.
“They’re not necessarily poor people, they just don’t have reserves and it just happens that week.
“Eighty per cent of people just come that once and they don’t come again.”
Taught By Muhammad is currently looking to recruit two new volunteers to deliver packages to homes in Dundee.

To find out more email admin@yyi.org.uk or call 07871040642.
The Angus Foodbank can be contacted on 01307 466841.
The Perth and Kinross foodbank can be contacted on 01738 626799 or by emailing info@perthkinross.foodbank.org.uk.

 

 

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