An appeal for donations has been issued by Barrhead’s foodbank as it tries to cope with a surge in demand sparked by soaring energy prices.

The number of people seeking help has risen by more than 30 per cent since a recent hike in gas and electricity bills, with many local residents having to choose between heating or eating.

Foodbank volunteers have also been supporting a number of families who have sought refuge in East Renfrewshire after fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Barrhead News: Ken at the foodbankKen at the foodbank

Ken Trench, who is part of the management team at East Renfrewshire Foodbank, told the Barrhead News: “There has been a real shift since the energy price hike.

“I think everyone is feeling the pinch. Obviously the folks who things are a bit tighter for are going to feel it more than most of us.”

The cost-of-living crisis has had a direct impact on the number of people visiting the foodbank, in Lowndes Street.

The service is available two days a week and, over the last three or four months, volunteers often see double the number of people that used to need help.

There is a growing need for more donations as the foodbank also supports a number of Ukrainian families who have fled the conflict in their home country.

Mr Trench added: “We have mums and dads who managed to get out of Ukraine on time and other families who are trying to look after them, as well as looking after their own families.

“That has to be tough, so we are glad we can help out.”

Donations for the foodbank can be left in special baskets at the Tesco and Asda stores in Barrhead, as well as the Asda and Waitrose branches in Newton Mearns.

A ‘hit list’ of the most needed items is also regularly highlighted on the foodbank’s Facebook page, so people know what to give.

A special summer collection that took place at Tesco in Barrhead recently saw people give 1.3 tonnes of food.

Items that are badly needed at the moment include sugar, jam, tinned chopped tomatoes, tinned fruit, coffee, biscuits, porridge, tinned meat, baby food and formula milk, juice (long life or diluting), washing-up liquid and men’s and women’s toiletries.

Mr Trench said: “We really appreciate the support we get. The churches, community groups and businesses offering to do collections and things like that, it’s great.”