Local Foodbank was ‘busier than ever’ this Christmas says manager

The manager of Lisburn’s Foodbank has opened up about facing their busiest period over Christmas, writes Shaun Keenan, Local Democracy Reporter.

Lynsey Agnew said the need for services has increased due to the coronavirus pandemic and the removal of the Universal Credit uplift earlier this year.

The foodbank told the Local Democracy Service that since April it has fed over 1,000 people with nearly half of those children.

This Christmas Lisburn Foodbank also revealed that they have made 420 hamper boxes that were distributed to partner organisations for their service users, while also supporting three other ‘key partners’ with enough food for a further 300 hampers.

Ms Agnew said: “Over 12,000kg of food has already been distributed in the month of December so far with few days to go until Christmas we expect that to increase to almost 20,000kg.

“It’s not right that people in our community are needing a charity’s help to put food on the table.

“Everyone in Lisburn should be able to afford the essentials. And we know our figures are just the tip of the iceberg as different community organisations, independent food banks and statutory services have also been working during the pandemic to support our community.”

Meanwhile, the charity said they had collected and distributed around 1,500 pairs of pyjamas, 215 butcher vouchers and 100 Christmas gift bags which they expect to reach 150 before Christmas.

The foodbank has also partnered with ‘Love Your Neighbour’ to help distribute a further 1,000 gift bags or vouchers to our local community. 

DUP councillor Paul Porter praised the volunteers who continued to support the most vulnerable despite the pandemic.

He said: “Lisburn foodbank with the support of the wider community continues to support those in our city in the greatest need.

“I would like to personally thank all the volunteers at Lisburn food bank for their outstanding effort and work during the covid pandemic.”

Alliance councillor, David Honeyford, who has worked closely with the foodbank before said it was a “sign of the times” that foodbanks in Lisburn were becoming more and more “vital”.

“The guys at Lisburn Foodbank are incredible and they do a phenomenal job,” Councillor Honeyford said.

“Their services allow people to get out of dire situations and so it’s much more than a charity handing out food parcels, it’s much more than that.

“Unfortunately we have had a rise in energy cost and the removal of the universal credit uplift which is proving to be devastating to individuals and families right across our district.

“It’s really hard for people and many don’t have it easy. Lynsey [Agnew] and the volunteers there do a fantastic job and there are two sides to this.

“There is the side where the community is helping the work to go on there and then Lisburn Foodbank supporting the local community back.”

The charity is asking local people who are considering supporting their work to visit lisburn.foodbank.org.uk and click ‘Donate’.