Charity warns food poverty in the south west is 'worsening'

  • Watch: ITV News' Max Walsh reports

One of the biggest food charities in the southwest has said food poverty is "worsening" across the region.

FareShare South West said 367 groups were on the waiting list to receive surplus food packages last month, up from 250 groups in April.

"That represents almost 50,000 people waiting and hoping for our food," said Josie Forsyth, the charity's director of fundraising and communications.

She added: "That might mean that they are skipping meals or they are not getting the nutrition they need to survive and might be getting ill."

The charity works with organisations across the region to redistribute surplus food to those who need it most.

FareShare UK has an emergency warehouse for the winter to cope with the additional need. Credit: ITV News

Sezab Idris works for Borderlands, a charity which relies on FareShare to cook hot meals for asylum seekers and refugees.

She said people are "struggling" to make ends meet.

"When you see the increase in people who need food, that means they're struggling for other basic things — bills, electricity, so many are asking even for bus tickets," she added.

FareShare South West has just launched its Christmas appeal and is aiming to raise enough money to provide food for one million meals this winter.

Ms Forsyth said: "It's not just food to them — it is dignity, joy, connection."

"It's coming round the table and eating and at the charities we give it to, food is often a way of bringing people in and giving them the extra support they need to get out of poverty," she added.