PERSHORE'S first foodbank will open its doors on Friday (May 16) as demand for help grows in the town grows.

Plans for the foodbank were revealed about six months ago when the need for it became clear but first volunteers needed to collect three tonnes of food.

Now with four tonnes of non-perishable goods in storage at the foodbank in Church Street it is ready to start helping people.

Reverend Mark Jennings said: "The opening will be a pilot at first and the foodbank will officially open on Tuesday (May 20). It will be open between 11am and 2pm.

"The response has been really positive so far. We are really very grateful in the way people from Pershore and the villages have responded. Local supermarkets have also been contributing to the collection."

The scheme is being run by Churches Together in Pershore in connection with the national Trussell Trust organisation and will see people in need referred to the service.

The opening comes weeks after the Trussell Trust revealed 913,138 people received three days' emergency food from its food banks in the last year.

And locally Evesham's foodbank run by the Vale of Evesham Christian Centre, said people needing help had increased by 100 percent in the past year.

Reverend Jennings said he had been sceptical of the need at first but soon realised how many people needed help.

"It's difficult to judge the need. We have been basing the need on both anecdotal and actual evidence. I was becoming aware that teachers at school had notice pupils coming in with no dinner money or lunch.

"When it was explained a lot of teachers were having to be creative with free school meals.

"We also ran a pilot scheme through Pershore United Charities and we issued vouchers in a similar way to the foodbank and we gave away vouchers valued in excess of £750. So we have been helping families even when there wasn't a foodbank.

"Also from April last year our local housing association told us that people with a good rent rate were going into rent arrears. The single room subsidy has effected people.

"I was a sceptic but when you meet the families that changes."

Anybody who would like to donate food to the new foodbank can visit the former Ogles Pharmacy in Church Street in Pershore.