A NEW plan to tackle to food poverty in Greater Manchester will launch today.

More than 100 organisations, including Bolton At Home, Age UK Bolton and Groundwork, have joined forces to end food poverty in Greater Manchester.

In the last few years more than 170 food banks and social food providers have sprung up across the region, prompting the need for a plan.

Greater Manchester Poverty Action is leading the Food Poverty Action Plan, co-director Tom Skinner said: "People will see a more joined up system, a 'no wrong door' approach.

"When someone is in need wherever they go they will be helped to find the right support.

"Sometimes it's an emergency food package or they might need to be part of a food scheme or need advice."

Mr Skinner also said there would be a focus on promoting health start vouchers, an NHS and government scheme to give parents of young children on a low income voucher for fruit and vegetables for free.

Mr Skinner said: "In Greater Manchester there's only a 65 per cent uptake, that's lower than all other comparable city regions ­— £3.5 million of fruit and vegetables each year."

Jon Lord, group chief executive officer, Bolton at Home, said: “Bolton at Home has a long and proud track record of working with community groups and other partners to tackle food poverty, through the development of food growing projects, food pantries and lunch provision through the summer holidays.

“Bolton is seen as being forward thinking on tackling poverty generally, and we’re already working with colleagues across Greater Manchester in positively responding to this issue.”

The Greater Manchester Food Poverty Action Plan is calling for action by organisations across all sectors to help prevent people falling into poverty in the first place and to support people experiencing food poverty through increased access to advice and support.

Research conducted by the University of Manchester and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation showed that despite Greater Manchester having the third fastest growing economy outside London, poverty was still growing and an estimated 620,000 people were living in poverty and 585,000 residents living in neighbourhoods which are in the most deprived 10 per cent in the country.

The research also showed that north Manchester lagged behind south Manchester in terms of jobs created since the recession.

Mr Skinner said: “We are delighted to be launching the first ever Food Poverty Action Plan for Greater Manchester.

“With household budgets under huge pressure in recent years and more than half a million people struggling to put food on the table, it couldn’t be more timely.

“There has been an amazing local response to rising need, often led by the charity sector and best evidenced by the rise in food banks across the city region.

“However, we now need to better coordinate this response with more joint working across sectors, to meet the needs of residents facing hardship, to support them out of poverty, and to prevent people from falling into poverty in the first place.”

The plan will be launched at an event in Manchester today. In the foreword to the plan, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said: "One in four parents across the country have skipped meals to make ends meet and for schoolchildren ‘holiday hunger’ is a growing concern."