A CHARITY that helps people on the breadline with emergency supplies hopes to set up new bases in two towns.

Durham Christian Partnership will hold open meetings in Spennymoor and Ferryhill later this month to find venues and volunteers so the project can operate there.

Since the charity launched the foodbank initiative around 18 months ago it has grown from one distribution centre in Durham city to 11 outlets across the county.

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It feeds 1,000 a month and has seen demand from struggling residents of Spennymoor and Ferryhill rocket in recent months.

The scheme works by identifying people in crisis, through frontline services such as housing organisations, welfare charities and health and social workers, and issuing them with a foodbank voucher.

These can be redeemed for three days emergency food, which has been donated to the charity, at a distribution centre, where other forms of advice and support are on usually offered.

Christine Jameson-Gates, a development worker with the charity, said: “We know there is demand because we are already feeding people in both areas through referrals and emergency boxes.

“But for those wanting to access a distribution centre they need one closer to home, if they had the money to travel to another town and back they’d be able to afford their shopping.”

Suitable venues that can offer secure storage of supplies and open regularly and volunteers, who will be trained by the charity, need to be found in both towns.

Anyone interested in supporting the Spennymoor scheme is invited to a meeting at St Paul’s Centre, off Whitworth Terrace, on Thursday, July 25, 7pm to 8.45pm.

Maureen Aspey, who chairs the board of directors at the centre, said: “Working with people who come to our existing groups, such as the long-term unemployed, you realise what poverty exists in our area and it is becoming more and more apparent that we need to help people.”

A meeting will also be held at St Luke’s Church, Church Lane, Ferryhill, on Monday, July 29, 7pm to 8.30pm.

Campaigner Mark Hutchinson, who has been unemployed for a year and does voluntary work in the area, said: “This is quite a deprived area, a lot of people are struggling and really need help to feed themselves and their families.

“I really hope people and organisations that can help get involved.”

For information contact the charity on 0191-3037559.