THE number of emergency supplies handed out by foodbanks in Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire has increased year-on-year.

Latest figures show that, in Renfrewshire, a total of 4,573 packages were handed out between April and the end of September, with 1,197 of these going to children.

This represents a nine per cent increase on the same period in 2017.

And there has been a 10 per cent hike in East Renfrewshire, where 1,400 emergency packages were handed out to adults and a further 566 to children.

The increases have raised concerns that local foodbanks will struggle to cope with ever-increasing demand during winter.

Elizabeth Alexander, manager of Renfrewshire Foodbank, said: “It’s a real concern that, in only six months, we’ve provided 4,573 emergency supplies to local people.

“These figures don’t even cover our busiest time of year. As the colder weather draws in, we often find more people needing our help.

“It’s not right that anyone in Renfrewshire is being forced to turn to our foodbank.

“Our volunteers offer vital support when it matters most but they should not need to.

“We want to see an end to local people needing emergency food. With a benefits system that catches people before they fall into crisis and secure work that provides people with enough money to cover the cost of essentials, we could reach that future.

“We’re determined to make sure that, until that time comes, emergency help is here for people – but there needs to be some long-term change because we don’t want to be here forever.”

The Trussell Trust – a charity which co-ordinates local foodbanks – believes the rise in demand is due to people struggling with issues such as the rollout of Universal Credit, insecure work and a reduction in the help available from councils.

Stan Esson, warehouse manager at the East Renfrewshire Foodbank, said: “We can already see that we are beginning to get an increase in the number of supplies having to be handed out, thanks to Universal Credit.

“We also have a lot of people in low-paid employment needing to use the foodbank.”