A FOOD bank has fed more than 3,700 people in Bolton in the last year.

The Farnworth and Kearsley Foodbank released new figures after national charity The Trussell Trust announced a “shocking” rise in the of people turning to food banks.

The service, which is part of the Trussell Trust franchise, fed 3,764 people between April, 2013, and April, 2014, 1,594 of whom were children.

Food bank workers and volunteers say benefit payment delays, zero hours contracts and low income were the main causes.

Alex Malone, manager of the Farnworth and Kearsley Foodbank, said: ”We cannot comment that there has been an increase in the past year because we only opened in December, 2012.

“However, we did see an increase in numbers during the winter months.

“The main reasons families come to us are delays in benefit payment and low income. Zero hours contracts are also a problem for people because they don’t know how much work or money they are earning week-to-week. It’s really hard for them.”

The Trussell Trust says it has handed out 913,000 food parcels across the UK in the last year, up from 347,000 the year before.

The charity said a third were given to repeat visitors but there was a 51 per cent rise in clients to established food banks. It also cited benefit payment delays as the main cause.

In a letter to ministers, more than 500 clergy described the increase as “terrible”.

The Rt Rev Chris Edmondson Bishop of Bolton has signed the letter.

Yet the Government says there is no evidence of a link between welfare reforms and food banks.

The Farnworth and Kearsley Foodbank war-ehouse, based at the Well Baptist Church, also runs a food bank in Little Hulton.

Christian charity Urban Outreach Bolton runs a food bank in the town centre.