Industry charity GroceryAid has spent more than £3.7m on welfare support over the past 12 months.

It has raised £4.27m for 2013/14, a record amount for the organisation. Regional branches contributed £1,14m of this while the Annual Diamond Ball and Sporting Heroes Luncheon raised £291,667 and £307,000 respectively.

The money raised was used to help more than 8,500 people in the retail industry through annual grants, emergency payments, the purchase of essential basic items or mobility services.

The GroceryAid helpline (08088 021 122) also saw a 45% increase in usage over the past year.

GroceryAid director general Gillian Barker said: “Thanks to the excellent support of our industry our welfare work was carried out against a backdrop of increasing numbers of attendees at the many events held locally, centrally and in our name,” he said.

“This security enabled our Welfare team to work to ensure all our beneficiaries are receiving the best care and attention afforded by GroceryAid. A very big thank you to everyone who has made this possible.”