VOLUNTEERS have launched a foodbank in Millport to help alleviate pressures on starving residents after figures revealed an alarming increase in demand.

Island residents struggling to feed themselves and their families would previously have had to take a trip to the mainland if they were in need of assistance.

Volunteer Andrew Smiley says the burden was putting additional financial pressure on people who were already struggling.

A foodbank has now been launched at the Cathedral of the Isles in Millport to relieve the cost and stress to islanders.

Andrew is a committee member at Largs foodbank and says he became aware of the need for a separate island service after noticing an increasing number of people making the trip on the ferry to get food.

He said: "There was a gradual rise over a period of a few months.

"These people are facing hardship and also the added expense of a ferry to Largs just to get food. They if they don't drive then they would also need to pay for a bus to get to and from the ferry.

"These are unwanted costs when people are already cash-strapped.

"Living on the island myself I thought I would arrange this new service to help."

Along with fellow volunteer Fraser Kelly, Andrew managed to successfully set up a base at the Cathedral of the Isles.

He added: "The cathedral has been great, offering us space for a store room, which has been vital.

"We have a phone number and can deliver straight to people's houses. We thought this would be the best way of doing things as the cathedral itself is quite small and privacy is an issue.

"We don't want people to be embarrassed about using the service so now they can phone us whenever.

"Cumbrae Parish Church and the school made massive donations as part of their harvest festivals, which was kind.

"It is great that we can offer people the service on the island now and help where possible."

With the increase in demand, Andrew says they are now looking for some extra hands to help run the service.

Anyone interested in volunteering can contact organisers through the Millport Foodbank facebook page.

The service still operates on a voucher basis and those in need of the service can call 07305 706518 to get items delivered to their door.

Donations can be made to the library or at the Premiere store.