A FOOD bank is up and running after it was given a boost by a social landlord in north Durham.

Derwentside Homes has pledged its support to help expand the Food4U service from Consett to Stanley.

It is co-ordinated at the Salvation Army building on Station Road, Consett and was established to provide short term, emergency food to individuals or families in crisis.

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Due to demand, they have now opened a new distribution point in Stanley and Derwentside Homes has donated £260 worth of food to set it up.

Margaret Nealis, who is the secretary for the Food4U food bank in Consett, said: “We decided to set up a food bank in Stanley due to the number of referrals we were receiving in our Consett food bank.

"The problem is, customers do not have the money to travel to Consett to collect their food parcels so this is a convenient way to meet and distribute their food.

“We are very grateful to Derwentside Homes for making this wonderful donation and I am delighted with their level of interest.”

To access the food bank, which is located at The Tommy Armstrong Centre in Stanley, customers must be referred to the service by official bodies such as the Job Centre, Citizens Advice Bureau, support groups, doctors and schools.

The vast majority of food is donated by local churches and community groups, but it is past customers who have benefited from the service that are also lending a hand.

Susan Gowland, community investment manager at Derwentside Homes, said: “With redundancies, major cuts to benefits and increasing fuel costs, more people are being referred to food banks so it is important that organisations such as Derwentside Homes get involved in some way to help the local community.”