THE VALE Foodbank service has seen the number of people using it increase by more than 50 per cent in the last year, with the amount of people in Wales receiving three-day emergency food parcels doubling to nearly 80,000.

Figures released by the Trussell Trust, the charity behind the Foodbank service, showed that 79,049 people in Wales received three days’ emergency food in 2013-14, compared to 35,919 in 2012-13.

Figures also showed that more than 900,000 people received three days’ emergency food from Trussell Trust foodbanks nationwide in the last 12 months.

The Trussell Trust’s chairman, Chris Mould, said: “That 79,049 people in Wales have received three days’ food from a foodbank, over double the numbers helped last year, is shocking in 21st century Britain. But perhaps most worrying of all this figure is just the tip of the iceberg of UK food poverty, it doesn’t include those helped by other emergency food providers, those living in towns where there is no foodbank, people who are too ashamed to seek help or the large number of people who are only just coping by eating less and buying cheap food.”

Responding to the latest figures, the Vale foodbank manager, Susan Lloyd-Selby, said:

"The situation here in the Vale is similar to the national picture.

“In the last year we’ve seen things get worse, rather than better, for many people on low-incomes. It’s been extremely tough for a lot of people, with parents not eating properly in order to feed their children and more people than ever experiencing seemingly unfair and harsh benefits sanctions.

“We have seen a 56 per cent increase in the numbers of people turning to us for help, with 3,543 people being fed last year, of which 1,364 were children under 16.”

She added: “We continue to be grateful to all those in the local community who support us so generously - thanks to their support we distributed over 33,000 kg of food last year."