THE Ledbury area has a second food bank, which opened in Bosbury last week, in a climate of rising need.

New analysis shows that Ledbury Food Bank provided food for double the number of needy people in September 2019 as it did in 2018.

Spokesman for the food bank, Martin Ham said, “We do get unexplained variations in the monthly take-up of food, but this one is dramatic.

"Many of those who come have been floored by the unexpected and need short-term support, which we are delighted to be able to provide, and some come because they are what are now called ’JAM’s – ‘just about managing’. We welcome them all!"

He added: "At this time of year we have plenty of food as Harvest Festivals around the district have provided us with all we need – for now. At present we are only short of Christmassy items of all sorts, so that we can make Christmas a bit special”.

Mr Ham added: "Ledbury Food Bank feels that in the short to medium term, if we do leave the EU and there are long delays at the ports, they can cope with not only a problem with supply, but also any increase in demand. Local people have been so generous with their donations of food and money at their Harvest Festivals that for the next month or two, there will be no problem. In the long term, however, the picture will be less certain until the future is clarified, and we know whether there will be a problem getting fresh food in from the EU."

Last year, the Food Bank was handing out an average of 40 handouts a week, for a yearly total of around 2,000 handouts.

But if the trend this autumn become the norm, the average figure could feasibly double.

The new Bosbury Food Bank, at the parish hall, was described by Mr Ham as "the first trailblazing example in this area of a food bank bringing food to the people rather than inviting the people to travel to a central food bank".

He added: "The reason for setting up in the Bosbury area is that it helps people with the cost of transport. The cost of even a short or medium ride is significant either by car or by bus, and it takes time. The new branch will allow people local to Bosbury get food without spending money on transport.

"The food bank, for the time being will open one day per week – from 9am to 11am every Wednesday. If demand is great enough, the branch would have to consider opening on two days a week in line with the Ledbury headquarters."

The AGM of the Ledbury Food Bank is on November 27 at St Katherine’s Hall at 7pm for 7.30pm The AGM is open to all members of the public.

Mr Ham said: "Whether you are interested in finding out how to get food, donating food or money, or are just interested to hear what your local food bank has been doing, do come along at 7pm, have a cup of tea or coffee and a biscuit or two, and find out all you want to know."