RINGWOOD Food Bank has seen an 84 per cent increase in food supplied to those in need.

The food bank provides food to those in financial need in the communities of Ringwood, Fordingbridge and Verwood.

From April 1 to June 30, Ringwood Food Bank says there was an 84 per cent increase over the same period in 2019 in the number of people receiving food.

During this period it provided three meals a day for three days for 988 people - an average of nearly 100 individual meals a day.

Ringwood Food Bank’s chair of trustees Chris Lee said: “Ringwood Food Bank is a community response to poverty in our community. We are very grateful to our communities for their volunteering and their donations which enable us to help those in need.

“It is heartening that we have seen such a substantial increase in support at this difficult time. We recognise that in the coming months many more people will find themselves in financial difficulty. We want to ensure that all those who need our help are able to obtain it. We particularly want to ensure that families with children are able to access our services over the school holiday period.”

In March, the food bank provided food for 353 people – an increase of 31 per cent compared to March last year.

Since March to ensure the safety of clients and volunteer Ringwood Food Bank has moved to a system of email and e-referrals as well as delivering food to clients.

Ringwood Foodbank has been supported by Ringwood Coronavirus Assistance, The Branch in Fordingbridge, Churches Together in Verwood and British Gas who between them are carrying out most of the deliveries.

Burley Good Neighbours, Alderholt Chapel , Fordingbridge in Need and Bransgore Community Church have also helped clients in their areas.

Ringwood Food Banks says it has continued to receive “huge support” in the form of donations of food and money from local communities and added “for this we are truly thankful”.

It also says that it is “very grateful” to all its volunteers who have ensured that its warehouse and distribution centres have been able to continue to function.

In order to obtain food families need to be referred by an agency. These agencies include your local doctors surgery, your child’s school or local councils, Citizens Advice Bureau or your local church.

Ringwood Food Bank is a registered charity.

For more information about Ringwood Food Bank, accessing support or making a donation go to Ringwood.foodbank.org.uk