1 in 4 working London parents struggle to afford to feed their families
New research by a London food charity has found 1 in 4 (25%) working parents in the city have, on multiple occasions, struggled to afford to feed their families in the last year. That could be the equivalent of over 308,0001 working mums or dads across London.
The Felix Project surveyed 2,062 working parents in London also found 25% of respondents said they had skipped a meal or not bought enough food to feed themselves to ensure their children can eat. As a result, 14% of respondents said they have had to turn to a food support service, such as a food bank or pantry for the first time in the last year. That could potentially be around 170,0003 working parents in London, meaning over 4504 new working parents have sought help from a foodbank every day in the capital.
The Felix Project is London’s largest redistribution charity, they rescue food that would otherwise have gone to waste and give it to around 1,000 community organisations and schools every week, who support those living in food insecurity. The charity has launched a new fundraising campaign to help them do more, Charlotte Hill OBE is the CEO and says: “We know there is a huge demand for food support services – every single one of the charities we support wants more food and there are over 650 new organisations on our waiting list that we cannot help. These numbers are heartbreaking and really bring home the dire need among working families. That’s why we’ve launched our Empty Plate Emergency Appeal today – we urgently need more funding to get food to struggling families across London.
“With winter and the threat of higher electricity bills approaching, even more people will see a squeeze on their budgets and be left with the awful choice between heating and eating. It is vital The Felix Project is there and can do everything possible to help during these challenging times.”
The survey also looked at what people have left to spend on food once all their bills had been paid. It found just over 1 in 10 (11%) working families in London had up to £20 a week – that’s less than £3.00 a day to spend on breakfast, lunch and dinner. This means across London over 100,000 working parents may have the same. For those surveyed with household incomes of up to £35,000 a year over half (53%) have that small amount to pay for all their families’ meals6. In total 22% of respondents said their food budget had decreased7 since last year.
For many of those people a food bank or pantry is the only place they can go to get help. Mounira is a single working mum of two, she has had to turn to a local food hub at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in White City. She is concerned about how her situation will impact her children and said: “Giving equal opportunities to my kids has become so challenging. As a parent I constantly face the dilemma of having to choose between giving my family a healthy and balanced diet and a healthy social and active life. Our grocery shopping cost has almost doubled, so did our bills, yet our salaries have not followed, so I have had no choice but to seek help. I worry everyday about my children's future, about how saying no to them for so many things is going to affect their development and confidence and sometimes it is very difficult to remain positive."
Richard Nesbitt is the priest at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, they receive a weekly delivery from The Felix Project, he adds: “The numbers attending our weekly Food Hub are growing week on week. People of all ages and backgrounds, many are working parents juggling long shifts and childcare demands. Things seem to be getting worse not better.”
The Felix Project is looking for support, £10.38 will feed a Londoner every day for a month and just £41.55 will feed a London family of four every day for a month. If you would like to donate, please click here