More than 3,000 three-day emergency food parcels were handed out in Bexley over a six-month period.

Figures released by The Trussell Trust show 658,048 three-day emergency food parcels were distributed through its national foodbank network between April 1 and September 30 of this year.

This is a 13 per cent increase on the same period last year.

A breakdown of these figures shows 3,239 parcels were handed out to those hungry in Bexley. 1,260 of those were given to children.

Manager of the Bexley Foodbank, Gillian Bates said that she has seen a significant increase in the number of people using the foodbank since she started in 2013.

"From 2013 to 2014, 2,047 parcels were handed out to people. For 2018 to 2019 that will probably rise to around 6,000," said Ms Bates.

Bexley Foodbank was set up by the Avery Hill Charitable Trust and is part of the nationwide network of foodbanks supported by The Trussell Trust.

Upon seeing the figures released from the Trussell Trust, Gillian described it as "quite frightening" as she said it puts pressure on those working at the foodbank to make sure they have enough food and volunteers.

Gillian explained people come to the foodbank for a variety of reasons such as homelessness, addiction and debt. However she also said that she has noticed that people also come as they are waiting on benefit payments to come through.

"It would seem that our chunk of people coming are having their payments stopped or delayed from the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions)," said Ms Bates.

The Trussell Trust said that while it understands people turn to foodbanks due to a number of different benefit issues, delays in people receiving their first Universal Credit payment remains one of the most common factors.

It can be at least a five-week wait for a first payment.

Chief executive of The Trussell Trust, Emma Revie has said that if Universal Credit is to help deal with poverty in the UK, urgent changes are needed.

"We’re seeing soaring levels of need at foodbanks. The time to act is now. If the five-week wait isn’t reduced, the only way to stop even more people being forced to foodbanks this winter will be to pause all new claims to Universal Credit, until funding is in place to reduce the five-week wait," said Emma.

A DWP spokeswoman said: "The reasons why people use foodbanks are complex, so it’s wrong to link a rise to any one cause.

"Universal Credit replaces an out-of-date, complex benefits system with cliff edges that disincentivised work and often trapped people in unemployment. We have just announced that we will be increasing the amount people can earn on Universal Credit by £1,000 before their payment begins to be reduced, to ensure work always pays, and introduced £1 billion to help people moving over from the old benefits system to Universal Credit.

"This is on top of the improvements we have already made – advances have increased to 100 per cent, the seven-day waiting period has been removed and we are paying housing benefit for an additional two weeks when people move onto Universal Credit."

A new foodbank in Bexley has opened in Christ Apostolic Church in Welling on Saturdays from 1-3pm and people are being asked to donate long-life goods and toiletries for the upcoming winter months.