More than 400 children were fed by the Kingston Foodbank in January and February this year - three-and-a-half times the number during the same period in 2013.

New figures released by the foodbank suggest welfare reform is forcing more families to rely on hand outs to get by.

In the first two months of the year 173 children received food support over benefit issues, compared to 35 last January and February.

Foodbank organiser Paul Pickhaver said: “In Kingston there is clear evidence that the dramatic increase in people coming to foodbank is driven by a significant increase in the number of referrals from JobCentre Plus.

“It is the families that are now being impacted.”

Three weeks ago the foodbank opened a new centre at the New Life Baptist Church in Surbiton, which is open during the evening to allow people in work to redeem their vouchers.

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