Devizes and District Foodbank hosted its second Challenging Poverty in Devizes event on Friday, October 21.

The evening was part of Challenge Poverty Week in England and Wales, which aims to raise voices in unison against poverty.

It was attended by MP Danny Kruger, Emma Revie (CEO of Trussell Trust), Suzanne Wigmore (CEO of Wiltshire Citizens Advice) and Wiltshire Councillor Iain Wallis who were speakers and panellists at the event, and answered questions on what is being done to help right now.

The main themes which surrounded the event were to do with the package of support from the UK Government, including Cost of Living payments, the Council Tax Energy Rebate scheme and the Household Support Fund distributed to local authorities.

Community Organiser and Campaigns Manager Alex Montegriffo said :“Questions from the public included the role of the voluntary sector in protecting individuals from poverty, whether or not the Government would commit to uprating benefits in line with inflation so that they are sufficient to live off, and if eligibility for free school meals could be expanded.

“This event was a chance to demand action on the issue of rising poverty, both nationally and in Wiltshire.”

It also comes as the number of children on free school meals has skyrocketed in the county.

Department for Education figures show 10,120 children in Wiltshire were eligible for free school meals in January- this was up from 13 per cent the year before, and the highest proportion since comparable records began in 2015-16.