Former school converted into large food bank

'We have needed bigger premises for several years now, so it is a huge relief'

Monday, 16th May — By Tom Foot

St Aloysius Primary School

The former St Aloysius School

A FORMER primary school will become a permanent home to Camden’s biggest food bank as shock figures show rocketing demand for food parcels from children.

St Aloysius Infants in Somers Town is being transformed into the new distribution facility for the Euston Foodbank after a lease was signed between organisers and the Diocese of London.

The historic primary school shut down because of an admissions crisis caused by families quitting Camden for decent-sized and affordable homes outside the capital.

Annual statistics released this week by the Trussell Trust show that the children who remain are in increasing need.

More than 9,300 Camden children were referred for the handouts in 2021/22 – up more the 50 per cent on the year before.

Dorothea Hackman, a volunteer at Euston Foodbank, said it was “still providing the majority of emergency parcels in Camden”, adding: “Although there has only been a 13 per cent increase in people seeking support in 2021/2022, there has been a 54 per cent increase in the number of children supported.

“This is clearly a result of the increasing cost-of-living crisis for low-income families, and sadly can only grow worse. People with no fixed address continue to form a significant proportion of our clients.”

She added: “.”

Distributions will continue from the current location in Lancing Street while the school building is converted.

Parents have been shocked by the closure of St Aloysius school that has been followed by the Carlton School in Queen’s Crescent. More primary schools are expected to follow as the cost of living forces parents out of Camden.

Under-18s referred to the Euston Foodbank rose by 54 per cent on last year.

The figures for 21/22 were on top of a dramatic surge in 2020/21 when the food bank’s overall use rose by 285 per cent. Stock donated this year weighed 134,870 kilos, compared to 271,522 the year before.

Figures show ward by ward breakdowns for the food bank’s usage.

In King’s Cross, 1,374 residents use it, compared to 700 last year. Kentish Town residents using it have risen from 525 to 1,014.

Just seven Frognal residents use it and 16 in Fortune Green.

Last month, the New Journal reported how children referred to a mobile foodbank had doubled in two weeks.
Rasheeda Graham, chief executive of the Camden Mobile Foodbank, said most of the people using the service were in “crisis”.

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