FOODBANK workers in East Lancashire have backed a hard-hitting report that lifts the lid on deprivation in the UK.

National research for the Trussell Trust shows four out of five people referred to foodbanks have skipped meals and gone without eating, sometimes for days at a time.

Staff at foodbanks in Blackburn, Rawtenstall and Accrington said they recognised the stark situation depicted in the newly published report.

Foodbanks also operate in Oswaldtwistle, Clitheroe and Burnley.

A spokesman for the Maundy Relief scheme in Abbey Street, Accrington, reported a “quite dramatic” increase in the number of food parcels handed out in the last three months. About 300 have been given out in the last quarter.

The spokesman said: “People tell us they have not eaten for a few days. A lot of people are needing a lot more. Some say they would rather feed their pets than themselves.

“We are having to do more and more promotions to request food and assistance.

“It’s increasingly down to austerity measures. People are coming back more and more and it’s not just the people some might expect.

“We get people working full-time for low salaries who say they just cannot manage and there is every sign things are getting worse.”

Ros Duerden, project manager at the Blackburn foodbank in Oakenhurst Road, said: “There is real desperation and frustration in the people we are seeing. They are running out of ideas.

“Sometimes a relatively small expense can tip people over the edge. That might be something as simple as a child going to secondary school and needing a new uniform."

She added: “It is a very, very difficult world to navigate.”

Carolyn Collins, volunteer co-ordinator at the Raft Foundation foodbank in New Hall Hey, Rawtenstall, said: “People can go without for weeks without even wanting to ask for help.

“It’s about listening to folk and helping them identify their needs and signposting them to help.

“We try to promote good neighbouring and we try to stay hopeful and positive. We want people to be able to ask for help without any stigma.”

The research for the Trussell Trust showed that half of the people using foodbanks said their incomes were 'unsteady' from week to week.

Chief executive David McAuley said: “Every day Trussell Trust foodbank volunteers meet people trying to cope with low, insecure incomes and rising prices that mean even the smallest unexpected expense can leave them destitute and also hungry.

"These findings reaffirm how vital the work of foodbanks and the generosity of donors is.”