Wigan charity The Brick sees 250% rise in demand for emergency food parcels

A Wigan charity supporting people who are homeless or in financial difficulties has seen an unprecedented rise in demand for emergency food parcels due to coronavirus.
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The Brick’s food bank team has provided 598 parcels in the past two weeks, an increase of 250 per cent compared to the same period last year.

A total of 119 people have received parcels due to Covid-19.

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As a direct result of school closures, the food bank has provided 195 food parcels for children, a year-on-year increase of 248 per cent, and The Brick has seen 122 first-time referrals to the food bank in the last two weeks, with hardship as the most frequent reason for referral.

Food parcels being prepared at The BrickFood parcels being prepared at The Brick
Food parcels being prepared at The Brick

Staff at the charity are keen to let people know The Brick remains open, although with adapted essential services in line with government guidelines, and to meet the changes in the needs of the community.

They have provided essential outreach to people in need, with 46 people safely seen by The Brick’s key workers in the last two weeks.

The team has also contacted more than 300 people via telephone and live web chat, as face-to-face contact has been reduced to protect staff and the people the charity works with. The Brick’s focus has moved to remote support where possible.

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Chief executive officer Louise Green said: “The Brick staff are all essential key workers within food distribution and for frontline services.

“We continue to work with some of the most vulnerable people in our community, delivering vital advice, support and mentoring, practical help and we are now providing an increased outreach presence in the community. During this crisis, our services and ethos of ensuring that no one in our community is left behind have become more relevant than ever.

“However, as the charity has needed to pause all fund-raising activity, to close our charity shops and with many business supporters closed or reducing operations, we are experiencing a significant downturn in essential funds.

“We would ask anyone who would like to support us and to make a donation to visit www.justgiving.com/thebrick-project, as every penny really does count towards our continued service during these difficult times.

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“Finally I would like to thank The Brick’s staff team and their partners and families for their flexibility and resilience, and to our supporters and volunteers for their love, help and encouragement.”

The Brick’s food bank is open on a delivery only non-contact basis, providing pre-packed emergency food parcels to anyone who is referred to the charity in crisis.

Its webchat facility is operational 24/7 at www.thebrick.org.uk. Telephone support lines are open from 9am to 5pm on 01942 236953 or people can email [email protected].

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