THERE has been an increase of more than 200 per cent in elderly people using Ammanford Food Bank and Help Centre.

The food bank was recently brought up in the Senedd by Plaid Cymru and Labour Senedd Members highlighting the work that has been done to help those in need as well as the increase in demand.

In the last year, there has been almost 1,500 more people using the food bank in comparison to previous years, saying that their income is insufficient to meet basic needs. There was also a significant increase in people over the age of 65 – 223 per cent more than last year.

South Wales Guardian: Cefin Campbell visited Ammanford Food BankCefin Campbell visited Ammanford Food Bank (Image: Office of Cefin Campbell MS)

Cefin Campbell, Plaid Cymru’s MS for mid and west Wales, visited the foodbank in Ammanford and met manager Cheryl Dulake and Bryony, the campaigns manager, to find out more about the situation in the area. He also learnt how the help centre is helping the community with benefit claims, online applications and much more.

Labour MS Joyce Watson – who also represents the mid and west Wales region - also visited the foodbank where she heard about the plight facing residents and the increase in demand.

Mr Campbell said: “I welcomed the opportunity to visit the Ammanford Food Bank and learn more about the invaluable work Cheryl, Bryony and the team undertake in supporting the local community and those in need.

“The dedication of the Food Bank team is evident as they work tirelessly to ensure that no one in our community goes without the essential support they need.

South Wales Guardian: Joyce Watson visited Ammanford Food BankJoyce Watson visited Ammanford Food Bank (Image: Office of Joyce Watson MS)

“Food banks have no place in twenty first century Britain. It’s a reflection of this Tory Government’s failed austerity experiment that so many of our most vulnerable people are now dependent on strangers for support.”

Ms Watson said: “It is shocking that we are talking about destitution – foodbanks across Wales are seeing the highest level of need ever.

“Recent research shows that the poorest families in the UK must spend and average of 63p in each pound to meet basic food and energy needs.

“I am glad that the Welsh Government has prioritised tackling child poverty, putting the protection of those most in need at the heart of their toughest budget yet.

“People in Wales know first-hand how decisions taken by the Tories at Westminster have impacted their lives and their incomes.

“Tackling poverty should be a priority for governments across the UK.”

Both Senedd Members raised their concerns to outgoing First Minister Mark Drakeford during First Minister’s Questions. Mr Drakeford said that he was ‘in awe’ of commitment shown by those running food banks. He said: “When you visit a foodbank, you are immediately in awe of the commitment that people who run them show every single week. But I’m always struck by the fact that one of the very first things that people tell you when you get there is how much they wished they didn’t need to be doing what they are doing.”