A food bank has been launched to help needy people across several communities.

Villages covered by the project include Crossflatts, Cullingworth, Harden and Wilsden, as well as Bingley, where it is based.

The initiative, which began on a trial basis in late November, provides three-day emergency food parcels to people in crisis.

Airedale Methodist Circuit is spearheading the scheme, which involves a wide range of churches and organisations and a team of about 55 volunteers.

The food bank operates on Tuesdays and Fridays, between 10.30am and noon, at Bingley Arts Centre.

“It has been a wonderful example of the whole community drawing together to use local resources to meet local needs,” said joint co-ordinator the Rev Rosemary Nash.

Donations of food have flooded in – particularly from churches – and a network of food collection places is also being established at schools, shops and other businesses.

Non-perishable and well-packaged food can be taken along during the opening times.

The scheme has also had to raise money to cover operating costs, including the purchase of food which is needed but less readily donated, such as infant food and milk, long-life milk, spreads and tinned meat.

Tony Plumbe, a joint co-ordinator, said the food parcels were distributed only to people who had vouchers issued by one of the project’s partner agencies – schools, medical and job centres, mental health practitioners, homeless charities and the Citizen Advice Bureaux.

“These measures are to deter dependency, misuse and fraud,” he said. “They help to reassure our supporters and funding bodies that the food bank is run on sound principles.”