RYEDALE Foodbank has seen another rise in demand as it appeals for help as people continue to struggle with changes to the benefit system.

New figures show 591 emergency food supplies given out by Ryedale Foodbank in the six months between April and September - 133 more compared to the same period in the previous year. Of this number, 184 went to children.

The foodbank, a member of The Trussell Trust’s network, which has week reported an increase in UK foodbank use, believes the local increase is due to people struggling with continued issues with benefit payments and Universal Credit roll-out.

Lesley Hurley, manager of Ryedale Foodbank, said they were working hard to help prevent people affected going hungry, but were troubled by the extra pressure this puts on food donation stocks and volunteers’ capacity.

“It’s really worrying that we are still seeing an increase in need for emergency food across Ryedale,” she said.

“Every week people are referred to us after something unavoidable - like illness, a delayed benefit payment or an unexpected bill - which means there’s no money for food.

“It’s only with local people’s help that we’re able to provide vital support when it matters most, and while we hope one day there will be no need for our work, until that day comes we will be working hard to help prevent people going hungry.

“Thank you so much to everyone who already donates time, food and money to help local people.

“If you’re not already involved, we’d love to hear from you.”

The running costs for the foodbank are about £18,000 a year, all of which is raised locally to enable them to continue their work. Costs include warehouse space and other overheads like utilities and insurances.

Anyone interested in supporting the foodbank’s work can find out more at ryedale.foodbank.org.uk