Volunteers say they have never seen such acute need as inflation, soaring energy costs and cuts to benefits force growing numbers into dire poverty
An uncomfortable silence fills the hall of St Bride’s church in Liverpool. In a few minutes, its doors will open to some of the city’s hungriest families. Between 250 and 300 people are expected at its latest weekly food bank, although it could be more. But there is little to offer them: only 150 parcels of food and a small pile of unwanted clothes.
For the first time in years, the volunteers have to turn people away. They look aghast. “That will last half an hour at best. What do we do then?” asks Julian Sowden, one of the longest-serving volunteers. “There’s nothing else to give them. We just stop? We just shut the door?”