Northern Devon Foodbank has launched an urgent appeal after a big rise in demand for its services.

Duncan Withall, Northern Devon Foodbank chairman, says there has been a 20 per cent increase in demand this year.Duncan Withall, Northern Devon Foodbank chairman, says there has been a 20 per cent increase in demand this year.

The charity says it has seen a 20 per cent increase in its donations compared with this time last year.

It is also completely out of some items including long life milk, fruit juices and tinned fruit.

Anyone who can help is urged to make donations at the foodbank branches in Barnstaple, Bideford, South Molton and Ilfracombe.

Northern Devon Foodbank chairman Duncan Withall said the 'wonderful people of northern Devon' had increased the amount donated but it was still not enough, with the charity distributing 39 tonnes of food and only receiving 35.

He said: "While we have adequate stocks of some staple foods, our warehouse has no supply of long-life milk and fruit juice or tinned fruit. We are in urgent need of these items.

"About 150 litres of milk and fruit juices are distributed by our branches every week and this rises in the summer to between 200 and 250 litres.

"We have very limited funds available to buy these products so are appealing to the good people of Northern Devon to help us fill the gap."

Mr Withall said the increase in demand for the foodbank had been seen across the board, but families in particular and a third of those fed were children.

He said: "We are in a low wage area and the cost of living is going up faster than peoples' income.

"Quite a high percentage of the people we look after comes from families where one member of the family works.

"It's mainly as a result of the widening gap between the haves and the have-nots."

As well as local foodbank branches, people can also make donations at most of the major supermarkets.

Tesco and Asda also donate an additional 20 per cent of the value of items donated at their foodbank collection points to Northern Devon Foodbank, meaning a donation at those supermarkets has a double benefit.

The Barnstaple foodbank is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday and located at St John's Community Centre, Rose Lane (by Tesco). Bideford is at Supreme House, Pitt Lane, open on the same days.

Ilfracombe is at the Salvation Army Hall, Torrs Park, open Tuesday and Friday. South Molton is at the YMCA Centre, Mill Street, open Thursdays.

To find Northern Devon Foodbank opening times and for more information, go to https://northerndevon.foodbank.org.uk or call 01237 422243.