Northern Devon Foodbank has handed out more than 7,000 emergency food parcels in the last year.

New figures reveal the Foodbank, run by the Trussell Trust, gave out some 7,141 three-day food parcels between April last year and March.

Of this number, 2,497 went to children. The figures are a 17 per cent increase on the previous year.

The local food bank's figures feed into a larger national picture with a record increase in food bank use across the UK reported today by the Trussell Trust.

Northern Devon Foodbank is backing calls from the Trussell Trust to ensure the benefits system is able to protect people from poverty.

The charity believes the local increase is due to people struggling with low pay rates, continued issues with benefit payments; insecure work; reduction in available local government support.

Duncan Withall, chairman of Northern Devon Foodbank said: "No one in Northern Devon and Torridge should need a food bank's help and we want to see an end to local people needing emergency food at all.

"It doesn't have to be this way - our benefits system is supposed to protect us all from being swept into poverty but if we lived in a society where far fewer people were reliant on inadequate wage rates the benefit issue would be substantially reduced.

"Until we reach a future where food banks are no longer needed, we'll continue to provide vital support when it matters most.

"We're dedicated to ensuring that people in our community without enough money for food are able to access emergency support.

"Our vital work in the community has only been possible in the last year because of the incredible generosity shown by local people in donating food, time and funds."

Northern Devon Foodbank has outlets in Barnstaple, Bideford, Ilfracombe and South Molton where people can be referred for emergency food parcels.

There are also foodbank donation points across North Devon, including in Tesco stores.

Any businesses, organisations and individuals interested in supporting the food bank's work can find out more here.