BOLTON’S first food bank is now open to help struggling families who may go hungry this winter.

Volunteers at the Farnworth and Kearsley Foodbank have been busy stocking up the warehouse in anticipation of a big demand for the free food.

The project, based at The Well Baptist Church, was set up in response to the high number of children living in poverty in the town.

According to research published by the Campaign to End Child Poverty, 39 per cent of youngsters — about two in five — are classed as living in poverty in Farnworth and Halliwell, one of the highest rates in the country.

Volunteers have managed to stockpile more than two-and-a-half tonnes of non-perishable foods, such as dried pasta and tinned produce, since the beginning of September.

Speaking at the opening, Alex Malone, project manager, said: “I can remember being completely shocked when I heard about the number of children living in poverty in Farnworth and kids filling up on jam sandwiches at after school clubs because they didn’t get any dinner at home.

“It’s a terrible thing that we need food banks in this country but some families need help.

“Just one big bill can use up all of someone’s budget for the month.”

The project will be staffed by volunteers and will run from venues in Prestolee and Little Hulton , as well as the The Well Baptist Church in Trafford Street on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

But people must be referred by agencies providing tickets for those who qualify for free food, such as NHS Bolton and Farnworth-based charity Raise the Youth.

The opening was attended by representatives from Asda and Tesco which have been making regular donations to the foodbank.

The Farnworth and Kearsley Foodbank is the latest addition to the 280 food banks in the UK, according to research from the Trussell Trust.

The research also found that around 10 per cent of people in the North West have suffered from some form of food poverty in the last 12 months, with five per cent of people skipping meals and four per cent relying on friends or family to provide food.

For more information about donating, volunteering or using the food bank, visit or call 01204 861 671.