A FOOD bank has launched a new expanded store after seeing demand rise by 35 per cent last year.

Poole Food Bank officially opened its new store in The Dolphin, Poole.

The food bank, which is a Faithworks project, gave out food parcels to 35 per cent more families in 2023, and, since 2015, has seen demand grow by 400 per cent.

In total, the food bank issued 4,598 food parcels in 2023, feeding 13,931 mouths including 6,943 children.

Manager Gill Payne said demand in Poole is increasing ‘all the time’.

Bournemouth Echo: Gill Payne is the Poole Food Bank manager.

“Last year we gave out 35 per cent more food parcels to households than we did the year before. I’m not expecting that statistic to go down,” Gill said.

“The people in Poole are incredibly generous in donating food, mostly via supermarket donation sites although schools and churches chip in.

“It’s our role to use our van to go and collect those donations and bring them back to this store, where they are sorted and stored in date and type order.

“This store that we now have is essential to our process to making it work smoothly.”

Fifteen organisations, from national businesses and supermarkets to local builders and removers, had a hand in building the new store.

Bournemouth Echo: The new Poole Food Bank store.

Gill said bringing together all those who had helped in the project was ‘absolutely incredible’.

Alistair Doxat-Purser is chief executive of Faithworks.

He said the collaboration between the charity and all the different businesses showed that ‘business is a force for good’.

“We just looked back at the 2015 annual review. Since then, there’s been a 400 per cent increase in the demand on Poole Food Bank,” Alistair said.

Bournemouth Echo: The food bank also recently got a new van to help with growing demand, thanks to Josh Mitchell's

“It’s a really sad story, but in the midst of that sad story it’s a really good thing that we can, with all of these partners, make something amazing happen.

“Put all that together and you enable something like this to happen which means that literally 4,000 people are going to make sure that they will have food that they need in a crisis point each year.

“That’s the difference that this makes.”