THE VALE Foodbank has revealed that demand for its services has increased significantly when compared to the same period last year.

A trustee for the charity said that there had been an 82 per cent rise in demand during the month of March when the coronavirus pandemic hit and the government introduced a social and economic lock-down.

The figure came as the chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £750 million support package, which included £370 million for small, local charities working with vulnerable people.

£60 million of this funding will be made available for Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland.

In addition, a Welsh Government spokeswoman said that £24 million has been provided to support third sector charities during the crisis.

Susan Lloyd- Selby, a trustee at the Trussel Trust which runs the Vale Foodbank, said: “The Trussell Trust has secured donations from a number of supermarkets- particularly Tesco and Morrisons- and those supplies, alongside the amazing generosity of local people mean the Vale Food bank is coping well with the 82 per cent increase we’ve experienced.

“These are unprecedented times and we don’t know how long that level of demand will continue.

“It’s also likely it may increase further so we’d be grateful if people would continue to donate”.

Other local charities who’s income have been slashed due to the cancellation of fundraising events have welcomed the news.

Ceri Jackson, Director at the Tŷ Hafan children’s hospice based in Sully, said such funding would be “critical”, but said that donations from the public would also be needed to ensure that the charity can continue to deliver its services.

Meanwhile, local Labour MP Stephen Doughty called the chancellor’s care package “well short” of what was needed to support the charity sector.

The UK’s fiscal watchdog, the Office for Fiscal Responsibilities, later revealed that two million people could lose their jobs while the economy may shrink by 35 per cent between April and June if the lockdown lasts for three months.

Rishi Sunak said not every business or household could be protected, but that a sharp “bounceback in growth” was expected when the crisis eases.