The number of food parcels provided to residents across the Ribble Valley have increased by more than 50 per cent in one year, new statistics show.

New figures released today (November 8) by the Trussell Trust have shown a worrying trend in the distribution of emergency food parcels in the North West, with Ribble Valley witnessing a significant increase in demand.

Between April 2022 and September 2022, Ribble Valley Foodbank (Longridge and Clitheroe) distributed 949 food parcels.

Fast forward to the same period in 2023, and that number has surged to 1,427 parcels – with 701 of those being delivered to children.

A Ribble Valley Borough Council spokesperson said: “The cost-of-living crisis has affected people across the country for many reasons, including in Ribble Valley, which has a disproportionate number of elderly and rurally-isolated residents, and owner-occupiers.”

Blackburn with Darwen however experienced a decrease in the number of food parcels distributed, dropping from 10,527 to 8,183 during the same time frame, though remain significantly higher than in the years before that.

While the number of food parcels distributed has decreased in Blackburn with Darwen, the number of foodbank users is almost six times the amount than Ribble Valley.

Gill Fourie, operations manager at Blackburn Foodbank, has been documenting the number of foodbank users each month and found that fluctuations are based on government policies.

The Trussell Trust's new data shows 172,830 emergency food parcels were provided to people between April and September in the North West.

This period has seen a record high of 63,863 emergency food parcels provided to support 34,005 children in the North West alone – a nine per cent increase compared to last year.

The charity has issued a warning that food banks are at ‘breaking point’ and has made a strong plea to the government, urging them to take immediate action in the upcoming Autumn Statement to protect households with the lowest incomes.

Responding to the ‘extremely alarming’ statistics, Emma Revie, Trussell Trust chief executive said: “An increasing number of children are growing up in families facing hunger, forced to turn to food banks to survive.

"A generation is growing up believing that it’s normal to see a food bank in every community. This is not right. 

“Rising hunger and hardship have devastating consequences for individuals and our communities, damage the nation’s health and hold back our economy.

"People in work, as well as people who cannot work, are increasingly being pushed into debt and forced to turn to a food bank to survive.  

“We recognise this change cannot happen overnight, which is why we are calling on the Government to urgently confirm in the Autumn Statement that benefits will rise in line with inflation next April, and to reduce the burden of debt deductions which drive unacceptable levels of hardship.”

Both Ribble Valley and Blackburn Foodbanks have been approached for comment.