A CHARITY which supports people in need of food during troubled times saw a third more people turning to them for help last year.

Swindon Foodbank has reported a 33 per cent increase in the number of people needing their support during 2012, rising to 4,750 people across the town.

A total of 289 people have already received help from the charity this year, which averages at the same number of people per day as this time 12 months ago.

Project manager Lee Thompson said: “Foodbank is in a great position to meet the challenges that 2013 presents to us thanks to the generosity of the people of Swindon.

“More people are turning to us due to the general climate, with a number of people going on shorter working hours or in temporary jobs.

“Domestic bills are slowly going up and if a person’s money isn’t going up to meet those increases at some point they may need to use us.”

The Foodbank gives food and support when people need it most, aiming to avert disaster and poverty. The people using it range in age and situation – they may have lost their job suddenly, they could be a teenager in supported housing, or they could be a pensioner who is finding it hard to pay their heating bills.

People who need help can get vouchers from places across the town, including the Citizens Advice Bureau, the Job Centre and Swindon Council.

In 2012, the Foodbank saw a 155 per cent increase in the number of vouchers issued by the Job Centre.

Mr Thompson said: “I have got concerns this year with the Honda announcement and a number of other companies in the town. That could have a knock on effect on other businesses too. While we are currently at the same figures as last year I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes up soon. People will start getting their utility and credit card bills from Christmas.

“And with this cold snap people may start struggling to pay for heating as well as food.

“We also anticipate the increase in demand will continue through the rest of the year with the Welfare Reform Act.”

To find out more about the Foodbank or to donate, call 07932 108732 or visit www.swindonfoodbank.co.uk.