RESIDENTS living below the breadline have been taking full advantage of York’s new Foodbank, which was launched today.

The bank, based in the Gateway Centre in Acomb, aims to help people and families in short-term economic crisis, by providing three days’ worth of nutritious food.

Meals and supplies are being donated by York residents who have generously filled the shelves of the Foodbank in recent months.

Caleb Ellwood, manager at the York Foodbank, said today: “The launch has gone to plan which is great. It’s been a quiet start and that’s exactly how we wanted it to go.

“Basically, we don’t want to become overrun so we work on a voucher basis where people who have been referred to us can redeem their food vouchers.

There are trained staff within social services that refer specific people who are in a crisis to us and we provide three days’ worth of food; breakfast, lunch and dinner.

“We have been given loads of food from York residents, which is fantastic. Volunteers are doing a great job and all the infrastructure is now in place for us to move forward.

"We have had people turn up at the door without a voucher, and we have had to send them to the appropriate services so they can get an official referral voucher.”

National reports yesterday suggested Britain was facing a ‘nutrition recession’ as food prices rise and incomes fall or stagnate. Data compiled for The Guardian revealed the number of people who regularly achieve the "five-a-day" fruit and vegetable guideline has fallen by 900,000 in the past two years.

Mr Ellwood said: “Of course those living under the breadline won’t be able to afford fresh food and will have to prioritise getting three meals a day. We are fortunate that The Trussell Trust have regulated our food which has been cleared as nutritionally balanced.”

York Central MP Hugh Bayley visited the Foodbank earlier this month and commended the facility. A similar Foodbank in York is also run by the Salvation Army in Gillygate.