The number of food parcels delivered in southwest London has risen this year, while communities are bracing for a difficult winter.

In four of five southwest London boroughs, the number of food parcels delivered by the Trussell Trust to people struggling to afford essentials rose from last year.

The charity is concerned its food banks will continue to see high levels of demand this winter, with a record 314,000 redundancies in the three months leading up to September.

Data provided by the Trussell Trust recorded the number of food parcels issued between the start of April and the end of September this year and in 2019.

Merton recorded the biggest rise in food parcels issued, with 13,272 issued to hungry families this year compared to 2,327 in 2019.

Parcels in the borough went to people of all ages, with 7,290 being issued to adults and 5,982 to children.

Wandsworth also saw a rise in demand, with total parcels distributed rising from 3,016 to 4,914.

Meanwhile, food parcels doubled in Richmond, increasing from 999 to 2,664.

Adults got a majority of these, receiving 1,848 parcels, while children accounted for 816.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Croydon saw a very similar trend, with total parcels increasing from 1,221 in 2019 to 1,717 in 2020.

Adults received almost three times more than children, with 1,138 compared to 579.

However, Kingston recorded a slight decline in the number of parcels issued – dropping from 2,919 last year to 1,590 this year.

The decline was most notable among adults, who received 985 parcels this year compared to 1,937 last year. The number issued also fell for children from 982 last year to 605 this year.

Chief executive of the Trussell Trust Emma Revie said: "Throughout 2020, communities across the South East have stepped in to provide vital support to people left without enough money.

"Volunteers in food banks have been working hard under extremely difficult circumstances to make sure support is there for people struggling to afford essentials. 

"But it’s not right that any of us are forced to a charity for food, at any time of year. "

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

In London, the Trussell Trust delivered more than 210,000 emergency food parcels to people struggling to afford essentials between April and September.

Nearly 80,000 of these packages were provided for children.

And these figures do not include the countless other organisations which have been working tirelessly to support those most in need during these challenging times, such as other charities, community projects and local authorities.

Ms Revie said: "In the last few weeks, we’ve seen incredible compassion and concern for people facing hunger following Marcus Rashford’s brilliant campaigning.

"And it's hugely welcome to see the government build on steps already taken by providing significant new funding for local councils in England.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

"This vital local support must work in coordination with a national welfare system that is strong enough to act as a lifeline to anyone struggling to afford the essentials. 

"This pandemic has shown the unexpected can hit us suddenly, with devastating consequences for people’s lives.

"But it’s also shown we can make huge changes to the way we live and look after each other.

"It’s shown that when we come together to push for change, the government responds. 

"Together, we can build a hunger free future.”