FOODBANKS across West Wiltshire are calling for donations ahead of the Christmas and New Year festive period, after finding that demand for their services has leapt in the last year.

Foodbanks in Bradford on Avon, Melksham, Warminster and Westbury are currently fairly well stocked following harvest festival donations but are calling for more donations in the run-up to Christmas and the New Year.

Avril Clarke of the Bradford on Avon foodbank at The Hub said the need for parcels has tripled, going from them handing out 2-3 parcels a week to 8-10 a week.

This week the Trussell Trust which oversees The Hub foodbank called on General Election candidates on all sides to pledge to protect people from hunger, saying the need for emergency food parcels in the UK is now at an all-time high.

Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, said: “We’re seeing more and more people being pushed to food banks than ever before.

“People across the country, driven by compassion and a strong sense of justice, have been doing what they can to help, but we all want to see things change. It’s time for candidates on all sides to ensure these values are lived out in policies that anchor people from poverty.

“This General Election, all political parties must pledge to protect people from hunger by ensuring everyone has enough money for the basics.

“We want our next government to start working towards a future where no one needs a food bank by ending the five week wait for Universal Credit; ensuring benefit payments cover the cost of living; and investing in local emergency support for people in crisis.”

“Together, these three changes will put money back into the pockets of people who most need our support.

“It’s not right that anyone has to walk through the doors of a food bank in the UK. But it’s in our power to end the need for food banks - this can change.”

Trowbridge Storehouse has launched a campaign to put 50 food hampers together in the run-up to Christmas to distribute single people and families in need.

Volunteer Susan Jones said: “We have launched an initiative called All Wrapped Up to provide food bags for 50 families, singles and couples, that have been referred to us.

“We are asking the groups and charities that support us to donate items and for people to put names forward so that we can give away 50 Christmas hampers.”