FOODBANKS across the North-East are seeing a huge increase in demand due to job losses and delays in benefit or grant payments.

The Trussell Trust, which oversees a network of foodbanks across the country, reported an 81-per cent increase in the need for emergency food parcels in the last two weeks of March, compared to the same fortnight last year.

There was also a 122-pc increase in the need for food parcels for children in the same period, as the lockdown went into place amid the onset of wider restrictions to quell the spread of coronavirus.

A group of self-employed people in the North-East have voluntarily set up a fundraising appeal in response to these statistics, with the goal of raising at least £5,000 in the coming month to be shared equally across food banks in the region.

They have been supported by actor Dave Johns who starred in the Ken Loach film I, Daniel Blake, who agreed to be featured in the appeal campaign film: https://vimeo.com/413087998.

One of the volunteers backing the campaign, Kelly Railton, said: “Last year over 100,000 food parcels were given out in the North-East.

“These latest figures from the Trussell Trust show that with the coronavirus pandemic even more people are finding it a struggle to feed themselves and their families.

“And, the strain is starting to show in foodbanks, with some stocks in short supply and volunteers working so hard to get the food to people who need it.

“We know people in the region want to support foodbanks and many do through much-needed donations of food, hygiene and sanitary items.

“That is great and shows the kindness of the North-East public.

“But we have also heard from a number of North-East food banks that they desperately need funds, to pay their bills and to buy items that are in low supply.

“This is why we voluntarily launched this campaign raise funds directly for food banks across the region, so that they can continue to support those who so desperately need them in these times.”

She added that any support “Any support people can give will make a huge difference to a person or a family in need.”

Further information is available via www.trusselltrust.org.uk, or by ringing (01722) 580209.