DORSET Fire and Rescue Service (DFRS) has launched a ‘Foodbanks and Fire’ partnership in a bid to help families across the county who are struggling to feed themselves.

Firefighters have even agreed to use space at one of their fire stations as a secondary store for Blandford Foodbank.

The county fire and rescue service, which is currently consulting on proposals to merge with Wiltshire and Swindon Fire Authority, has teamed up with 23 Dorset foodbanks to help needy residents.

DFRS is making arrangements with individual foodbanks, under its Foodbank and Fire partnership scheme, that will enable the service’s home safety advisors to act as referral agents and give out initial foodbank vouchers.

The service has already handed over the keys to facilities at Blandford fire station, to allow extra food to be stored for the foodbank in Blandford.

Assistant chief fire officer Ben Ansell said: “I am delighted we can work with our local foodbanks and Faithworks Wessex to provide Foodbanks and Fire partnership, as well as providing the Blandford bank with extra storage.

“We will continue to work with partners across Bournemouth and Poole to ensure our communities benefit fully from the foodbank scheme and vulnerable people in crisis are supported.”

DFRS is also working with foodbanks across the county to develop simple recipe cards, to help people cook safely on a low budget.

Blandford Foodbank manager Gail del Pinto said: “I cannot thank the fire service enough for all the work they have done.

“Things were getting a bit desperate at the Blandford Foodbank as people Have been so generous in their donations and we had simply run out of room.

“To know that our stock is stored safely and locally has lifted an immense pressure from us.”