A charity that provides emergency food supplies to those in need across the Stroud District has raised concerns for this winter.

It comes as the organisation reveals that 1709 packages of emergency food supplies was distributed across the district in the last 6 months.

Stroud District Foodbank provided 1709 three day emergency food supplies packages to people from the Stroud District between April 1 and September 30 this year.

Of this number, 575 went to children.

The foodbank, a member of The Trussell Trust’s network which has today reported a UK-wide increase foodbank use, is concerned its help will be even more needed in the next six months of the year, as the colder weather draws in.

The figures see a 14 per cent increase in numbers of people fed and an 8 per cent increase in the number of referrals on the same period last year.

A month by month breakdown reveals a close correlation with the climate. A long and cold spring saw a significant increase, over 20 per cent, in the number of people accessing the foodbank whereas the above average, warm and dry summer led to much quieter months.

The charity believes the coming winter months will impact local people who are also facing difficulties with insecure work, debt and changing benefit payments.

David Drew, MP for Stroud says that he shares the charity's concern: “Having been involved in Stroud’s Foodbank since it began I am worried that demand has risen yet again and share the charity’s concern that about rising demand this winter

“Behind every statistic is a family or individual experiencing personal difficulties having been let down by the safety net that our benefits system is intended to provide or struggling to make ends meet because of low pay.

“I will be joining volunteers for the foodbank collection in Stroud’s Tesco later this month, and will continue to work hard to support this much-needed service.”

Stroud District Foodbank collects food from across the district via supermarkets, churches and businesses.

During the Harvest period over 100 schools and churches held celebrations and donated over seven tonnes of food and toiletries.

This will provide much needed stock for the colder months.

Collections are now beginning for seasonal items to make Christmas Hampers which will reach 1000 local people.

Those involved with the charity have asked for festive donations to be donated in early December at the latest, to ensure volunteers have enough time to process and distribute these donations to people before Christmas.

The annual Tesco Food Collection will run in the Cam and Stroud Tesco stores on Thursday, November 29, through to the December 1.

For more information about how you can help please visit strouddistrict.foodbank.org.uk/give-help/