East Renfrewshire’s foodbank is in greater demand than ever before as a growing number of families struggle to make ends meet.

Shocking figures reveal upwards of six tonnes of supplies were handed out to families in Barrhead, Neilston and the wider region in the space of just one month.

It is the largest amount of donations the Barrhead-based service has had to provide since it was set up five years ago.

In 2017 alone, East Renfrewshire Foodbank’s 60-strong team of volunteers supported more than 3,600 people.

A breakdown of the statistics shows single food parcels – containing tinned and dried products – were given to 550 individuals, while 312 couples also received packages.

A total of 407 small families, consisting of three or four people, collected parcels, so too did 237 larger families, made up of five or more people.

Just under 28 tonnes of donations were handed into East Renfrewshire Foodbank last year, of which 27 tonnes were put into the hands of those who live in the region.

Worryingly, organisers believe the problem is only going to get worse.

Stanley Esson, East Renfrewshire Foodbank warehouse manager, said: “As long as the government’s policy stays as it is, we can’t see it subsiding at all in the coming months and possibly longer.

“There is even more of a need than at this time last year.

“When people come here for the first time, they can be quite embarrassed. You feel really, really sorry for them.

“People are suffering.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “We agree that the impact of UK Government austerity and welfare cuts, alongside rising prices, are causing serious financial hardship and misery for many people – and that is unacceptable.

“That is why we have consistently called for an immediate halt to the roll-out of Universal Credit until the problems are fixed.

“The Scottish Government spends over £100million a year mitigating the worst impact of UK Government welfare cuts and also provides a £1million-a-year Fair Food Fund to provide sustainable solutions to food poverty.”

East Renfrewshire Foodbank welcomes donations of non-perishable items such as sugar, fruit juice and jams.

Donations can be made at St Andrew’s Church, in Barrhead. Call 0141 881 8250 for further details.