Renfrewshire Foodbank has provided almost 10,000 emergency food parcels to local residents over the past year, it has been revealed.

The foodbank, which has distribution centres in Johnstone, Paisley, Erskine and Renfrew, provides food and other essentials to those in need.

In the last 12 months, the foodbank has given out 9,875 emergency food parcels, with 3,003 of them going to children.

Julie Edmiston, assistant manager at Renfrewshire Foodbank, said volunteers were seeing first-hand the "horrifying" impact of the cost-of-living crisis.

She told The Gazette: "These shocking statistics are reflective of the picture across the UK as the Trussell Trust recently announced that their network – of which we're a part – distributed almost three million emergency food parcels between April 2022 – March 2023 – the most parcels it has given out in its history.

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"We're proud of the work that we're doing to meet the needs of our community, but we don't want to exist. 

"We believe everyone should have enough money to be able to afford to buy food and other essentials."

Ms Edmiston said the majority of the people that the foodbank supports are on Universal Credit, including many who will also be in work.

She added: "Right now, Universal Credit is not providing enough to cover the costs of life’s essentials, such as food, household bills or travel costs.

"The Trussell Trust estimates that to afford even these core essential costs a single person needs £120 a week, however the basic rate of UC is just £85 a week. 

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"This is already too low, yet often people needing to use our food bank have up to 25% of that deducted to repay debts, such as advance payments and budgeting loans from the DWP.

"That's why we're supporting a new proposal from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Trussell Trust calling for an 'Essentials Guarantee' to be built into our social security system, to ensure that the basic rate of Universal Credit is always enough to afford the essentials so that no one in the UK faces destitution.

"I would encourage others locally to support the campaign to Guarantee Our Essentials so that everyone has enough money to be able to afford to buy food."

A UK Government spokesperson said: "We know people are struggling, which is why we have a plan to halve inflation and are providing record financial support worth an average £3,300 per household.

"On top of this we have raised benefits including Universal Credit in line with inflation, increased the National Living Wage and have given an extra £82 million to help people in Scotland with food, energy and other essential costs."