WARRINGTON Foodbank handed out 79 tonnes of food to residents in 2017-18 – with the Government being urged to rethink policies causing the ‘crisis’.

Since 2012, Warrington Foodbank has provided 275,000 meals in the town, which currently has a population of around 209,700.

Only three tonnes of food were distributed in 2012, however, it increased to 55 tonnes in 2016-2017.

In 2017-2018, 79 tonnes were given out to people across the borough, the equivalent to 64,000 meals, mainly thanks to donations from residents.

And 35 per cent of food was distributed to families with children.

Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, executive board member for public health and wellbeing, has hailed the ‘team effort’ to help those in need.

But she is among the councillors in the town calling for action from the Government.

She said: “At the recent Welfare Reform Action Partnership (WRAP) meeting, which I chaired, an update was provided from Warrington Foodbank, which has been seeing increasing demand year on year.

“The WRAP are exploring other ways to help people access food at reduced prices on a more regular basis, such is the current need in the town.

“Other initiatives currently providing food for people on low incomes are the HAPI Hub and Friends of Meadowside – and the council’s neighbourhoods team is offering support to such initiatives where it is needed.

“The foodbank delivered a pilot scheme with six schools in summer 2018, supporting 161 children who receive free school meals, providing school meals in the summer holidays.

“This included breakfast, lunch and an evening meal.

“Warrington Foodbank are looking to repeat this over the Christmas and Easter breaks.

“The council’s neighbourhood team supported another eight schemes, with partners in the town, for children at risk of hunger in the holidays.

“These schemes also offered fun and interesting activities for children.

“The mood of those in the room at the last meeting of the WRAP was one of deep frustration.

“Partners in the town are committed to doing everything they can to support people in their time of need but it should not be necessary.

“We, as a council, alongside charities seeing the impact first hand, will continue to lobby the Government to look again at the policies which are causing this crisis.”

Warrington Foodbank is run by the Trussell Trust.