IT is a sorry state of affairs when families are forced to use foodbanks and ask for help from the community.

Whether it is caused by austerity or the changing society there is no doubt it is a very real problem and it is one which requires us all to do our bit.

And so it is so unbelievably heartening to see a free family meal scheme being run by volunteers to help those hardest-hit (Page 6).

The team at Spring Mount on Walney are not only providing struggling families with a helping hand by taking the stress out of tea-time at this crucial time of year but they are also giving them the opportunity to create close-knit ties within the community and meet new friends.

Those of us who are fortunate enough to not need the support services made available by organisations such as Barrow Foodbank and Spring Mount will no doubt feel that 'there but for the grace of God'.

And we must do our bit to help out; whether that's through volunteering, donating or helping to raise awareness.

Because it could so easily be any one of us in the same situation as the article on Page 5 about a qualified teacher who ended up homeless highlights.

So, please, do whatever you can to support these vital community services and show your thanks to the hard-working volunteers who help to make this town a better place.