DEMAND for emergency food parcels in Bournemouth has rocketed by more than 40 per cent.

A total of 4,190 parcels were given to people in the town between April and September and almost 1,300 of them were given to children.

This is an increase of 42 per cent on the same period last year as demand for food parcels across the UK reaches an all-time high.

Now the boss of Bournemouth Foodbank has voiced fears that the situation could get worse and the weather gets colder.

And she has launched an appeal for much-needed items in the run-up to Christmas.

Debbie Coombes, director, said: “It’s a real concern that in just six months we’ve provided almost 28 tonnes of emergency supplies to local people. These figures don’t take into account our busiest time of year - as the colder weather draws in, we often find even more people needing our help.

“We believe that everyone should have enough money coming in to cover the basics but right now, more and more people in the Bournemouth are being forced to our food bank’s doors. This isn’t right.”

She said she and her colleagues are determined that people without enough money for basic food can access emergency support and added: “Our vital work in the community has only been possible because of the incredible generosity shown by local people who have donated food, time and funds. Thank you.”

Bournemouth Foodbank is part of the Trussell Trust’s network, which has just released State of Hunger, the most in-depth study ever published into hunger and the drivers of food bank use in the UK.

The findings revealed the average weekly income of people at food banks is only £50 after paying housing costs, and almost one in five have no money coming in at all in the month before being referred for emergency food.

Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, said: “We’re seeing more and more people being pushed to food banks than ever before. People across the country, driven by compassion and a strong sense of justice, have been doing what they can to help, but we all want to see things change.”

She urged all candidates in the General Election to pledge to protect people from hunger and to ensure benefit payments cover the cost of living.

Items in particular demand at the Bournemouth Foodbank are UHT milk and juice, tinned meat, tinned vegetables, tinned fish, sweet and savoury treats, rice pudding, powdered desserts, tea and coffee.

The charity has asked for festive donations to be handed over in early December at the latest, to ensure volunteers have enough time to process and distribute these donations to people before Christmas.

Anyone who wishes to donate food or money can find details of how to do so at