CARLISLE Foodbank is continuing to feed more than 600 people every month – more than 200 of them children.

But with the economic impact of the pandemic likely to deepen in the months ahead, and unemployment likely to grow, bosses at the charity say they believe it is inevitable that demand for its food parcels will rise.

“We’re currently feeding every month about 430 adults and around 215 children,” said Rachel Rodway from the charity.

Rachel said current demand for help was partly being met by a patchwork of voluntary and charity groups which had sprung up during the pandemic.

She spoke out as the debate nationally intensified over whether the Government should extend the provision of free school meals to help children whose families have been financially stricken by the pandemic.

“We know the figures will inevitably go up,” said Rachel. “There were 61 new cases of coronavirus in Carlisle yesterday. We are getting deeper and deeper into this and we don’t know what’s going to happen about Brexit.

“I suspect there will be serious repercussions on the price of food.”

She said that the people who use Carlisle Foodbank come from all walks of life. A lot of these people had turned to Universal Credit for the first time for financial support.

Some had been astonished at how little money they were expected to survive on.

“Many have had no idea how the system works and they were absolutely knocked sideways by the low level of assistance they were getting from Universal Credit,” said Rachel.

While the current level of donations to the charity remains healthy, it is keen to find people willing to be volunteer drivers to deliver food parcels. Anyone interested can log on to the charity’s website,

The true extent of food poverty in Carlisle is hard to establish. A few weekends ago, an event organised by the Rev Alun Jones at the city’s St Herbert’s Church Hall fed around 35 people.

Those attending were treated to a three-course Sunday lunch, prepared by community chef Michael Cullen to coincide with Harvest festival.

Commenting at the time, Mr Jones said: “About 35 people came out to support it and half of those people were homeless.

“The homeless project from St Herbert’s makes a hot meal every night and every morning for the homeless. There are more and more people living in tents in our county because of Covid-19.”

Homelessness is increasing in Cumbria, he says.