THE Bury-based charity's first exclusively Halal, Kosher and vegetarian foodbank has opened in the town centre.

The Fusion Foodbank operates out of Bury Asian Women's Centre in South Cross Street and aims to reduce loneliness and isolation among the town’s BAME community.

It is Fusion's first to cater specifically to residents' religious and ethical dietary requirements, which is often not provided at Bury's other 20 foodbanks, the charity says.

As well as hot food, the charity provides parcels for local people that include feminine hygiene products, cooking oil, sweets, pasta and a range of delicacies.

The opening comes after the Fusion charity received £9,000 from The National Lottery Community Fund.

Ayesha Arif, community director at Bury Asian Women's Centre said: “Being the first halal Fusion Foodbank, we have highlighted the issues and created awareness to other groups that there are gaps in services and that the BAME community is struggling."

Asian Image: Children's 'snack packs' at the Fusion Foodbank in BuryChildren's 'snack packs' at the Fusion Foodbank in Bury

Prior to the coronavirus crisis, Ayesha helped BAME families around the borough with a hot meal service.

However since lockdown she has decided to incorporate it into the charity’s day-to-day work.

The Fusion Foodbank, which has only been running for one month, has already seen the number of families signing up to the hot meal delivery service more than double.

Starting with just 20 families, the charity now provides meals to 55 families in the town, with referrals coming in almost daily.

Ms Arif said: "This service is used by widowers, people with health issues and disabilities or families who are financially vulnerable.

"Some people can't cook due to being isolated, or do not have any money to cook a nutritional meal.

"By providing this service we are making sure that they have nutritional meals and stay healthy.

"Thanks to The National Lottery Community Fund we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”