A charity supporting families bereaved by suicide in North Devon has seen its caseload in the area double since it opened a base in Barnstaple just two months ago.

Pete’s Dragons celebrated the launch of a new HQ at the Link Centre, in Alexandra Road, in October and is now providing direct support to around 85 people.

The cause, which provides comfort to families across Devon after suicide loss, has revealed the sharp rise to highlight just how important support from the community is.

Customers at Tesco in Barnstaple have helped raise £4,000 for the charity through the supermarket’s Bags of Help scheme - and the cash will go towards expanding the service offered in North Devon.

Pete’s Dragons founder Alison Jordan said: “The caseload continues to grow in North Devon and plans for replicating the service in East Devon are afoot with peer support groups and wellbeing workshops aiming to start in the new year.

“Money raised for us, such as that from the Bags of Help scheme, is so vital and helps to continue and provide our services. At this time of year, with Christmas coming and families potentially facing a difficult time and a stretch on their finances, this will enable us to help ensure it is as comfortable as it possibly can be.

“We are delighted with the response from the community since opening our North Devon base, which includes the Tesco money, volunteers coming forward and offers to assist in our fundraising.”

While Pete’s Dragons had previously been able to offer one-to-one support for families affected by suicide, the new base in Barnstaple is allowing those using the service to access therapies, wellbeing workshops and more in North Devon.

The charity was founded by Alison after her brother, Pete Wicks, took his own life in 2010 at the age of 24.

Bags of Help, run in partnership with environmental charity Groundwork, sees money raised from the sale of carrier bags awarded to thousands of local community projects every year.

Tesco customers choose one of three local projects they would like to get the top award using a token given to them at the checkout.

To find out more about Pete’s Dragons, visit petesdragons.org.uk.