A DORSET councillor has called for more targeted support for residents who are struggling to make ends meet.

Cllr Carole Jones, who volunteers at Sturminster Newton’s Vale Pantry project, says aid is often not directed where it should be and, on occasion, the wrong help is offered.

She told councillors that all too often community food larders or fridges were being dipped  into by volunteers because they were not readily available to people who needed them – with supermarket food vouchers being handed out when energy payments would be more helpful.

“Last year people were getting supermarket vouchers but what was needed was energy vouchers at a time when many could only afford to have electricity on in one room and couldn’t afford to run a hob… they were getting food voucher but they couldn’t afford to cook,” she told Dorset Council’s Cabinet meeting.

She said that the whole approach need to change because the Council and community organisations could not afford to do everything.

“It seems to me there are a lot of people commissioning help but very little actually happening at the bottom,” she claimed.

The comments came during a discussion about reinstating a £2million council fund to help people in need across Dorset.

Portfolio holder Cllr Ryan Hope said great work was being done in the county, often with partners such as the Citizens Advice Bureau and other community organisations, and he wanted to get the council’s money to be working as quickly as possible.

Portland councillor Paul Kimber said many families were continuing to struggle with local foodbanks unable to keep up with demand.

Dorchester councillor Richard Biggs said other support might also be needed – with many organisations expecting people to use apps’ to access services. He said many people were not able to afford a mobile phone, or might not have the capacity to operate one, or enough credit to get online.