DEMAND at Cardigan Foodbank has ‘gone through the roof’ in the last three months.

The centre, based at the New Life Christian Centre on Quay Street and part of the Trussell Trust organisation, has been struggling to keep up with the increasing numbers turning to the service.

And it is feared demand could further increase during the school holidays, with families who are eligible for free school meals unable to rely on that provision to help feed their children.

“It has been pretty horrendous in the last few months – the numbers are three times what we would expect at this time of year,” said centre manager Alan Faunch.

“We are just about keeping on top of things but the figures have gone through the roof.

“And this area has one of the highest proportions of free school meals in Wales and we are wondering what further effect the holidays will have.”

It is not just Cardigan and the surrounding area that has seen a rise – latest figures released by the Trussell Trust show 4,137 food parcels went to children in Wales during the six weeks of the school summer holidays in 2018, a 14 per cent increase on the same period in 2017.

The figures come against a backdrop of soaring food bank use in Wales. In 2018-19, food bank use escalated throughout the year in Wales with a 15 per cent total increase.

“Many of the families who come to us are in work but the introduction of Universal Credit has had a huge impact and delays in benefit payments are hitting families hard,” added Alan.

“We would also like to thank the generous people of Cardigan for continuing to support us. It really is incredible.”

Susan Lloyd-Selby, Wales operations manager for the Trussell Trust, said: “Food banks do all they can to help families in Wales over the summer and many run holiday clubs to support parents who find that their income simply won’t stretch to meet the extra pressure of missing free school meals or paying for additional childcare.

“But no charity can replace the dignity of having enough money for the basics.

“Ultimately, we should all be protected from needing a food bank’s help, no matter the time of the year. Wales has the highest child poverty rates in the UK and if we are to end hunger in Wales, we need to make sure everyone is anchored from being swept into poverty.

“Food provision cannot and must not be a long-term solution to poverty.”