A Renfrewshire food bank manager has said that statistics "speak for themselves" after worrying figures were released in a recent report.

The report which was conducted by the Trussell Trust revealed that from April 1, 2023, to March 31, 2024, over 50,000 people used food banks for the first time.

In the same time period across Scotland, 62,479 emergency food parcels were provided by food banks in the Trussell Trust network to people facing hardship.

READ NEXT: Renfrewshire Foodbank increase operations with new warehouse

The Gazette: Crystal Clayton and Steve McManus outside their new warehouse which opened last monthCrystal Clayton and Steve McManus outside their new warehouse which opened last month (Image: Gordon Terris)

There was also a "significant" increase in families with children, with a 21% rise from five years ago.

Crystal Clayton, manager at Renfrewshire FoodBank, said: "With us having our new warehouse means we are better equipped to help people who need the support.

"But it does not take away the fact that it should never have been a move we had to make in the first place.

"The stats speak for themselves with over 52,000 people using food banks within the network for the first time, which is atrocious.

"We need to be more driven to change the narrative so that people can have access to better incomes so they can self-manage and be able to afford food."

The Gazette:

Trussell Trust says that the new figures released show new First Minister John Swinney, "the challenge ahead" when it comes to tackling the need for food banks.

The organisation say that it is also clear that at its current rate, the Scottish Child Payment (SCP) is "not making enough of an impact" to stop children needing to access charitable food aid.

READ NEXT: Renfrewshire Foodbank reveals new food parcels figures

According to the report by the anti-poverty charity the SCP needs to be raised to £40 a week, up from its current £26.70, which they say will help meet its statutory targets to reduce child poverty from 25% to 10% by 2030.

Crystal went on to say: "Our food bank is seeing more and more people turning to us for support than ever before.

"The reason they’re coming to us is because they simply do not have enough money to purchase their own food.

"People are stuck between heating their homes and eating which should never be a choice anyone has to make.

“Everyone deserves the right to be able to live, not just survive.

"There has to be an immediate change nationally to ensure that everyone has enough money to cover the essential costs in life.”

The Gazette:

Polly Jones, Head of Scotland at the Trussell Trust, added: “Our new first minister is responsible for a flagship poverty policy that is not preventing children from needing food banks.

“There has only been a 1.8% decrease in the share of total food parcels delivered to households with children aged 5-16 and no statistically significant reduction for households with children aged four and under.

“We need the new first minister to increase the Scottish Child Payment to at least £40 a week if he is to meet statutory targets to reduce child poverty from 25% to 10% by 2030.

“Right across Scotland people are being left with no option but to turn to charitable, volunteer-run organisations to get by and this is not right. 

"Everyone in Scotland should be able to afford the essentials – to buy their own food and heat their homes.

“We need urgent action from all levels of government to prevent our children growing up believing it is normal to have a food bank in their community, let alone needing help from one.”