Industry charity GroceryAid spent £4.6m last year on helping more than 14,500 people who found themselves in difficulties – of whom 62% were of working age.

Its first Impact Report also revealed that employers were GroceryAid’s primary referrer for the first time, rather than other charities, reflecting growing awareness of its work.

Applications rose by 22% and of the 14,583 people helped, a sizeable majority were of working age, reflecting the impact that tough trading times are having on people.

During the year the grocery charity provided 98% more telephone counselling sessions, its Relate relationship service saw a threefold increase and use of the Renovo return to work support service was up by 75%.

Chief executive Steve Barnes said: “We know that any unforeseen event, such as illness, relationship breakdowns or redundancy can easily knock people into emotional and financial hardship. That is why I am so proud of the support we provide to colleagues who are working in and contributing to the industry today.

“Our one-off crisis grants have increased by 86% this year and as the industry goes through a once in a generation restructure, we expect applications to continue to rise.”

Overall GroceryAid’s Helpline saw a 26% increase in calls. Call the free, confidential Helpline on 08088 021 122 or visit for advice and support.