Nearly nine in ten North London foodbanks expect rising demand to continue in 2024

Research by food redistribution charity The Felix Project paints another bleak picture as cost-of-living crisis continues to hit hard

Enfield Health and Wellbeing Service CIC is one of the recipients of leftover food from The Felix Project

New research by the capital’s largest food redistribution charity has found almost nine in ten support services in North London are concerned about increasing demand in 2024.

In a survey, The Felix Project, which has a depot in Enfield, found 85% of the community organisations they support in North London said they were expecting to see an increase in demand, of which 61% said it will be a significant rise.

In 2023 The Felix Project rescued and redistributed the equivalent of 32 million meals, its highest yet. However, 83% of charities supplied with those meals said they are concerned about meeting demand for food, with 34% extremely worried. In addition, over half (54%) said they are concerned they may have to reduce the frequency of their services.

The results come from a survey sent to all the organisations The Felix Project supplies. In total in 624 responded to the questions. Chief executive Charlotte Hill OBE said: “These results really demonstrate the immense amount of pressure being felt by so many of those charities working on the frontline to feed people facing food insecurity and hunger.

“It’s clear, too, that many people in London are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis. 170,000 working people in London had to turn to a food support service for the first-time last year to ensure they could feed their children. Each week we send food to over 1,000 organisations and all of them want more food.

“To have so many respond to our survey and say they worried about an increase in demand shows how much The Felix Project has to do this year.”

The Felix Project was started in 2016 and since then has grown year on year. In 2023 the charity rescued 13,394 tonnes of good food from going to waste from 322 different suppliers. It was responsible for redistributing 8% of all surplus food in the UK, while 15,000 volunteers gave over 150,000 hours to help sort and deliver the food to 1,119 community organisations across every London borough.

In addition, 50% of the food ended going to the top fifth most deprived areas of London.

One of the many charities to get deliveries is Enfield Health and Wellbeing Service CIC, which provides support to vulnerable people in Enfield. In 2023 they received the equivalent of over 24,000 meals.

Manager Jenny Ramadan said: “The Felix Project has given us the opportunity to support the so many individuals and families in our community that are struggling financially or in need of that little extra help, without The Felix Project we would not have been able to provide the services we currently do which is a lifeline to so many people.

“Each week the food is delivered by the Felix amazing team of volunteers, and we use these resources to support as many people as we can, for example at our foodbank, which is every Tuesday afternoon in Edmonton, in our community fridge and as food parcels, which are delivered to the disabled and elderly that are housebound. There are so many things we do and, every piece of food delivered is being used for something; nothing is ever wasted.

“We support over 150 people each week in one way or another and this has only been possible due to The Felix Project. Sadly we have seen an increase in these numbers over the last few months particularly in the elderly.  The Felix Project are not just delivering food, they are helping so many people in such a positive way.”

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