SALISBURY is beginning to feel the pinch of the cost of living crisis, as the price of food, fuel, and bills continues to rise and inflation hits a 40-year high.

As the Bank of England warned MPs of “apocalyptic” food prices, one foodbank in the city has seen the number of people coming in for food increase significantly. 

Chloe Roberts, manager of The Salisbury Pantry in Catherine Street, said she has “never seen it so busy” in the foodbank as in the last few weeks, with people queuing out of the door. 

Organised by the city council’s communities team, the pantry works based on membership, which is open to any residents of Salisbury who receive benefits, are on a low wage or are struggling to buy food or bills towards the end of the month. 

Once signed up, members can visit the pantry once a week, pay £5 for the shop, and choose from a selection of food. 

Salisbury Journal:

Salisbury Pantry manager Chloe Roberts 

“They end up taking about £20 worth of food home with them,” she said. “Although I wish they could take more. 

“In the last few weeks it has been extremely busy. Usually, we have maybe two or three first-timers. Now, it is about ten. 

“At the moment, many people are heading to that point where money is just not enough for them.” 

Lucy Griggs, a nursing assistant at Salisbury District Hospital, is a single mum and says that some of her bills have tripled. 

She attends the Pantry when she is able to, working around her shifts, to help feed her nine-year-old boy Jack. 

“The cost of everything is going up, and I have to keep my boy entertained, too. We also have had mould issues, but that was thankfully sorted a while ago,” she said.

'Feeling the pinch'

In Salisbury, mum-of-three Natalie Clark said that the cost of living crisis is “horrendous”.

“I have definitely felt the pinch, and I am earning quite a good salary. I cannot imagine what other people must be going through,” she said.

“I am having to make choices when going shopping now, which I have never had to do before. I have cut down to working from home two days a week because of fuel prices, and I take my boys to football games and other activities but I find myself thinking of the cost of fuel and wondering whether they really need to go.

“There’s just less surplus cash. I think the main impact on my health is the stress of it all.”

More than half of people in the UK say their health has worsened due to soaring prices.

A YouGov poll of 2,001 people commissioned by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) found 55 per cent felt their health had got worse due to issues such as high heating costs and soaring food bills. 

One in four of these people have been told this is the case by a doctor or other medical professional, with stress seen as a driving factor of ill-health.

Of all those who reported their health getting worse, 84 per cent said it was due to increased heating costs, 78 per cent said the rising cost of food and almost half (46 per cent) said transport costs had had an impact.

Also attending the pantry, a Salisbury man who wishes to remain anonymous said that one of the problems is that the cheapest food is often not the healthiest.

He said: “If you are struggling, you have to get the cheapest foods, and it is more expensive to buy the healthy stuff. Also, some people do not know how to cook. They need to be taught. In some places, they do teach cooking skills, and that should be more widespread.”

Ian Grimes, from Figheldean, also said he is “short of money”, and the high cost of living has put him off living an independent life.

He lives with his dad but would like to move out, but the high cost of council tax and bills mean he will be staying put. 

Salisbury Journal:

Figheldean resident Ian Grimes 

Ian, who was paralysed on the right side of his face after being hit by a car when he was 10 years old, also has to pay for prescriptions to help manage an injury.

“I was knocked down by a car when I was 10, which gave me a head injury,” he said.  

“The main cost to do with this now is prescriptions. We pay for prescriptions in this country when they don’t have to in other parts of the UK, which is unfair. It is around £9.60 for me every time.” 

Heating, food, and transport costs seem to have the greatest impact. Health issues are made worse by cold environments – and prices may rise again when temperatures drop in the autumn – and some people cannot afford to travel to medical appointments. 

Fuel prices are almost at a record high again – average diesel prices hit a record high of 179.7p on Monday (May 16). 

The same day, petrol cost an average of 165.1p per litre, narrowly missing the record of 165.4p, set on March 21. 

Barry Wilson, an armed forces veteran who lives in Stockton, said that at the moment he is “fine”, but admits that he does use various measures to help keep costs down. 

These include using the electric at the cheapest hours, turning the heating down and wearing extra layers, and only using the washing machine when full. 

How has the increase in cost of living affected you? Contact the Journal team - we would like to hear about your experiences of this. Email: or post to Salisbury Journal, Sarum College, 19 The Close, Salisbury, SP1 2EE

Get more Salisbury news

You can also like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date, as well as signing up for one of our newsletters.

If you want online news with fewer ads, unlimited access and reader rewards - plus a chance to support our local journalism - find out more about registering or a digital subscription.

Email with your comments, pictures, letters and news stories.