THERE are currently 20 different foodbank sites offering their help and support to residents across the borough - and the demand for food parcels is continuing to rise.

The Trussell Trust runs the majority of those 20, under the wing of Barnsley Foodbank Partnership.

It supports distribution hubs at locations in Goldthorpe, Wombwell, Athersley, Darfield, Penistone, Hoyland, Royston, Worsbrough Common and Barnsley town centre.

According to latest analysis, 2022 saw a 16 per cent increase in demand, with two-thirds of all food parcels being sent to families with children.

Mid-year statistics for the first half of last year were also at ‘record-breaking’ levels - and it’s believed that the demand for the Christmas period were also at their busiest yet.

Figures from the charity show 4,092 emergency food parcels were handed out between April and September across its food banks in Barnsley.

Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, 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.”

The trust’s figures show 1,264 of this summer’s food parcels in Barnsley were for children.

Ms Revie continued: “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.”

In response, the organisation has called for an ‘essentials guarantee’ - meaning Universal Credit should protect people from going without the basics.

A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions said: “There are 1.7 million fewer people in absolute poverty than in 2010, but we know some families are struggling, which is why we are providing a record support package worth £3,300 per household.

“This includes the latest cost of living payments paid directly to over eight million households this year, our decision to raise benefits by over ten per cent last year and our £2bn Household Support Fund which is helping people to buy essentials.”

But Barnsley East MP Stephanie Peacock has called for more to be done to support those most in need.

“Families in Barnsley and across the country are struggling under the strain of poverty and food insecurity.

“With more than 15,000 children living in poverty in Barnsley and foodbanks reporting a 46 per cent rise in children needing food parcels, the work is vital in our community.

“In Barnsley East, 25 per cent of under-15s live in poverty - a shocking statistic - and a quarter of children in our local area are growing up in poverty.

“The Trussell Trust have raised concerns about people falling into chronic destitution.

“Families who were struggling before the cost-of-living crisis are unable to cut costs any more than they already have.

“Charities and local groups do incredible work to support their communities but this isn’t their mess to fix.”