A food bank has reported a dramatic increase in the number of parcels given to struggling Hyndburn families and households.
Community Solutions, based on Cannon Street in Accrington, says the number of parcels given out has risen over the past eight months from 20 a week to more than 50.
Since June last year the social enterprise has had a total of 334 new referrals in Hyndburn with around one-third of all parcels going to needy children.
Genevieve Waite, of Community Solutions, warned the number of people using the service is likely to increase further in the future.
She said: “I would say Hyndburn along with Burnley are the places where we have seen the most dramatic increase in the last few months. In November it averaged around 20 but in June that was up to 56. Overall in the last year we have had a 277 per cent jump in referrals across Lancashire.”
The community group is made up of 65 volunteers who collect and deliver food parcels to homes across the area.
Miss Waite said the number of parcels issued across the county has jumped from 150 to 200 in the past two months alone.
She said: “It’s really jumped up since April for a number of reasons and unfortunately I don’t see that increase dropping off. People often don’t call for our help for months because of pride.
“It does mean when we go there is often not a single tin in the cupboard and people are embarrassed about that. They don’t want hand outs, they want a hand up.
“We are taking on more volunteers and also working with places like mosques in Hyndburn to create awareness and to reach people who don’t know about us.”
She added: “The welfare reforms have contributed as well as the inflation of food costs.
“No two referrals are for the same reason so it’s hard to pin it down to an exact cause.”
The headquarters on Cannon Street are open Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm for people to donate food. To find out more or to help organise a fundraising event for the food bank call 01254 352591.