COMMUNITIES have been pulling together to help those less fortunate.

More than 200 people were helped by Beaminster food bank last year, thanks to the generosity of the public.

During 2018, 3,900 meals were sent out to 110 local families, made up of 260 individuals, which also included nine Christmas hampers.

But the team at the food bank, overseen by the West Dorset Family Partnership Zone, could not have helped so many in need without the town coming together.

Gina Bailey, of West Dorset Family Partnership Zone, said: “We continue to be amazed by the kind generosity of the local community.

“If we are short of a particular item, we just put the word out and a few days later the items start to appear in the collection boxes around the town.”

The food bank received donations from schools, churches, groups and organisations as well as individuals throughout the year, with gifts of toys, books, mince pies, chocolates and other treats during the Christmas period.

Gina added: “We are very grateful for all the donations we receive, which are hugely appreciated by our clients, so a huge thank you from all of us for your wonderful support – it really does make a difference to peoples’ lives.

“Thanks also to Nick Tett Butchers and Anthony from Fruit ‘n’ Two Veg for their help in supporting the food vouchers scheme.

“People can purchase vouchers from them, which are then passed to the food bank so that we can exchange them for lovely nutritious fresh food in their shops when we are putting together food parcels.

“Huge thanks also to our fabulous volunteers who give up their time every week to keep the food bank running smoothly and provide a warm welcome to our clients.”

Although the team at the food bank have managed to help so many families in the area, they are sure there are more people in need of their help who are reluctant to visit the food bank.

If you or someone you know is in need of the food bank, call the team on 01308 861030 or visit them at Beaminster Children’s Centre at 6 Prout Bridge, where they will be happy to help.

And a Christmas hamper initiative, led by St Mary's Church in Bridport, helped 45 families with children aged under 11.

Marysia Bartlett, member of the organising team, said they were able to help so many people 'due to the amazing generosity of the Bridport community.'

Hampers provided a Christmas dinner and tea, plus extras.

Ms Bartlett said: "The support came from individual donations, those who enjoyed the fundraising quiz and local businesses, including R.J.Balson & Son, Framptons, Washingpool Farm Shop and Waitrose store. Thanks is also due to the many helpers who came on Christmas Eve to pack the bags and deliver them to the families, with special thanks to Charlie Groves who kindly allowed his drivers to assist with deliveries."