Rochdale food banks help vulnerable local families during coronavirus pandemic

  • Many families are facing extremely hard times as the country battles this pandemic.
  • Rochdale's food banks are finding that more families than ever are coming to them for support 
  • NQ spoke to a children's centre manager in one of the most deprived areas of Rochdale about the pressures familes are under.

Rachel El-Washahi is the manager of 3 children’s centres in Rochdale. She’s authorised to issue food vouchers to families who need them most and she’s finding that the pandemic has produced a big increase in demand.

Families have seen household incomes fall due to the furlough scheme, reduction of working hours and redundancies. The result is that food banks are having to cope with an increased demand for their services. Many families in Rochdale are now reliant on food banks during this unprecedented time.

The Trussell Trust food bank in Rochdale relies on donations from the public and local organisations. However, due to restrictions imposed during the lock down, it is virtually impossible to get to local supermarkets to collect and receive donations. As a result, Rochdale council have agreed to support the food bank. 

Families requiring goods from the food bank are issued a single voucher to present when arriving at the food bank. This voucher will provide 3 meals for 3 days.


Food bank vouchers are issued from many agencies including children centres. Children centres have seen an increase in requests for support via the food banks. Rochdale children’s centre staff are distributing more food bank vouchers than ever due to Covid -19 and the pressures this pandemic is putting on already struggling families.

With more family members being at home for longer periods of time, they are going through food faster. Families may have nowhere else to turn to, forcing them to use the food banks more than ever which highlights how important these services now are for deprived areas such as Rochdale.

Food bank vouchers are not issued unless there’s an absolute need. Staff ensure that it is appropriate to issue vouchers as they are in such high demand.