A WELSH council could set up a £100,000 fund to keep vital foodbank services running this winter.

There are fears a surge in demand, price increases for food, the cost of overheads and a lack of donations could all combine to create a perfect storm for foodbank organisers in the coming months.

A report for Newport council said community food organisations face "unprecedented challenges and increasing demand for their services" as the cost-of-living crisis continues.

The report notes the "significant contributions" the city's foodbanks and partners have made to supporting communities during the pandemic. There are more than 35 such groups in Newport offering food parcels
and other services like debt help and job advice. 

"Without these organisations, many people and households would have struggled to provide food for themselves and their families, seek the necessary debt advice and support to enable long term changes to their financial, mental and physical well-being," the council report said.

The prices of food, energy and fuel have soared in recent months amid the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, and for foodbanks in Newport the rate of inflation has hit their income, both in volumes of donated goods and in the number of customers who visit charity shops.

In the north Flintshire Foodbank has seen a surge in demand as the service has reached its 10 year anniversary.

READ MORE: Wales: What are the child poverty figures for your local authority?

During the first six months of 2022 alone, Flintshire foodbank has seen a 42 per cent rise in vouchers issues and a 51 per cent increase in people using the services compared to the same period in 2021.

A spokesperson for the foodbank said: “The last six months we have had the most significant rise in the cost-of-living crisis. There were some additional charities and support set up during covid which is why the figures were slightly lower than expected. Overall, we have seen a big increase in the number of people that need our help, particularly over the last few months.

“This is a milestone we don’t want to celebrate.”

Foodbanks rely on public donations, and there are fears these could dry up this winter as people tighten their own purse strings to get through the months ahead.

New research suggests families are already worried about the cost of living this Christmas, which could have a significant impact on the ability of foodbanks to raise money.

Studies by parenting website Mumsnet in 2021 and 2022 found a 31 per cent drop in the number of UK users who plan to donate to foodbanks over the Christmas period, with many saying they can no longer afford it.

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Newport council notes these pressures are coming at a time when "organisations are seeing increases in the number of people and households needing support with food poverty, debt advice and support, and fuel costs".

It has proposed consolidating existing contributions from itself and the WGLA (Welsh Local Government Association) to create a single a Community Food Organisation support fund that will help groups meet ongoing costs.

The fund will comprise £62,000 from the WLGA and £38,000 from the city council and, if approved, will invite foodbanks and similar groups to apply for a first round of support by September.

The decision will fall to the council's cabinet member for community wellbeing later this week.