A food bank in Byker has received a boost in the run up to one of its busiest periods.

Byker Community Trust (BCT) housing association, which owns and manages 1,800 homes on the iconic Grade II* Listed Byker Estate in Newcastle, organised a Christmas foodbank collection for Connect25.

Staff, Board members, partners and friends all contributed to this year’s collection, which has raised a total of £775, in addition to a large collection of different food products, toiletries as well as toys, cosmetics and other essential items. 200 advent calendars were also donated by pupils from West Jesmond Primary School.

The donations were handed over to the food bank during this year’s annual BCT Christmas carol service, which saw pupils from the ‘Byker Beat’s’ choir at Byker Primary School sing festive carols and songs for staff, Board and committee members, community partners and volunteers.

Like most food banks at this time of year, Connect25 food bank, based on Brinkburn Street in Byker, provides emergency food supplies to local people living within the Byker Ward and surrounding areas. They rely on donations including food parcels to meet the demand for those most in need.

Jill Haley, Chief Executive of BCT, said: “Demand for food banks went up by 23% in the UK in the last year and they are becoming an essential source of emergency food supplies for more and more individuals and families. Food banks rely upon public and corporate donations to continue to provide this essential service to people in crisis and as the main anchor organisation on the Byker Estate, BCT has an essential role to play in helping to support and sustain our local community.

“As part of our continued investment on the Estate, we invited everyone involved with BCT to contribute towards the food bank and I am really thankful for the kind response and the amount of money and items that has been donated. I hope our combined contribution will help those people most in need this Christmas time.”

Adebola Oluwatula, Project Co-ordinator at Connect25 food bank, said: “On behalf of The KC Foundation, we would like to express our profound gratitude to Byker Community Trust, their contractors and partners, ‘Byker Beat’s’ Choir and Byker Primary School as well as West Jesmond Primary School for their support to the work of our charity in alleviating food poverty Byker and its environs.

“These donations will go a long way to help the food bank in continuing the good work it is doing in the local community. Thank you once again.”