It is customary for us in April to review our figures from the last financial year and see how usage of our foodbank has changed compared to previous years. Of course, 2020 was a year like no other and with Islington Foodbank closed for five months some of the numbers are a bit skewed. Nevertheless, there are still some clear trends that we can see.
2,462 clients served in 2020/21
Between August 2020 (when the food bank reopened after closing due to coronavirus) and March 2021 Islington Foodbank served 2,710 clients, including 839 children and 248* emergency bags. This means we served 54% fewer clients than in the 2019/20 financial year.
*This number is estimated
The proportions of families and children we serve are growing
Single people have remained the largest group using Islington Foodbank this year, making up 46.7%. However, this is the lowest proportion that single people have been in any year since 2011/12. There has been a relative rise in all other household sizes including single parents, couples and families.
This corresponds with a significant increase in the proportion of our clients who are children: 34.1% compared to 28.1% last year and 24.6% the year before. 34.1% is the highest proportion of children we have seen since 2011/12.
Low income clients continue to increase
In 18/19 low income overtook benefit changes and delays as the primary reason for accessing the food bank for the first time, with 43.1% of our clients citing this as the reason for their crisis. In 19/20 this trend accelerated with 70.1% of our clients citing low income as the main reason for coming to us. In 20/21 this has grown further still, and now 80.7% of our clients cite this.
The flip side of this is that clients accessing us due to benefit changes or delays has fallen to just 5.7%, by far the lowest it has ever been, though it is still the second biggest reason for clients accessing Islington Foodbank.
Among the other reasons for applying, we have seen a rise in the proportion of clients citing domestic violence (now 1.8%, the highest since 2015/16), sickness (now 2.4%, up from 1.6% last year but in line with our all time average), and no recourse to public funds (now 2.5%, the highest since 2017/18).