NATIONAL statistics may show the economy is improving, but the demand for Ledbury's food bank is on the increase.

Ledbury Food Bank completed its first year of operation in November, and while figures since then are still being compiled, organisers believe they are seeing more not fewer clients, which is putting a strain on existing food stocks.

Ledbury food bank secretary, David Kirkham said: "There is no decline in demand. If anything, demand is going up a little bit.

"We need more food. It is difficult making it balance at the moment. Christmas saw a big boost in food donations, but it has slowed down since then."

Anyone seeking evidence of a cost of living crisis in Ledbury in 2013 could point to the figures compiled and analysed by the food bank.

From November 2012 to November 2013, the food bank saw 141 individual clients, with each client representing a family with an "average" size of 2.7 individuals.

These clients, collectively, made use of the food bank on 496 separate occasions; which means that, taking the average size of the families being helped, the food bank in a period of 12 months provided over 1300 meals for local individuals.

The statistics also show that, given Ledbury's population of around 12,000, approximately one in thirty residents is likely to have made use of the food bank over the past year or so.

Anyone wishing to donate food should take it to the Master's House information centre on St Katherine's car park, to Ledbury Primary School, or the Ledbury Town Council offices in Church Lane.

Anyone seeking help from the Ledbury food bank should call into the town council offices on a Wednesday morning, where eligible clients will be given a voucher for food.