A NEW foodbank has helped more than 70 people during its first week.

The NQA Foodbank, in Darlington, is providing food parcels to people to people in need.

The foodbank, which became registered as a community interest company this week, is operating out of Cornerstone Arts Centre, in Northgate, Darlington.

Unlike many other foodbanks, it gives out food parcels without a referral and is working with people who may not fit the criteria of other organisations.

It is appealing for donations of food, and people can also donate cash or volunteer their time.

It is open on Saturdays, Sundays and Tuesdays and organisers are working to have a lock box, which police would be able to access at all hours of the day if needed.

Coordinator Stephen Morgan said: "We've helped more than 70 families and we've had some great support from the public and have started creating partnerships with other organisations and other food banks."

It is working with youth unemployment services, as well as First Stop Darlington to try and offer extra support to people who are struggling with debt or unemployment.

The new foodbank has opened amid soaring demand – The Trussel Trust, which runs hundreds across the country, says the North-East has seen demand increase by 50 per cent between April and September.

To find out more, visit www.nqafoodbank.co.uk, where details of how to donate can be found.