More than 600 people per week are relying on Ipswich Top Up Shops to help cope with rising food prices. 

In a bid to help alleviate cost of living pressures, 10 sites have been set up by churches across the town to redistribute surplus food and non-food items to those struggling to afford essentials. 

In April of this year, Triangle Church Top-Up Shop reported more than a 40% increase in the number of shop customers since the cost of living crisis began.

Focal minister for the church, Lawrence Carey, now says they have noticed a further rise over the last three months.

"In the last few months we've noticed a dramatic increase in the number of people coming to these shops," he said.

"There are people across every area of society coming to us for help - singles, couples, parents, pensioners, refugees.

"It's up to us to respond to this need and it's vital that we do."

For just £2, people receive a bag of shopping that includes essentials such as pasta, bread, toiletries and tinned food. 

Add-ons such as cakes and other sweet treats are also included in the price. 

Ipswich Star: For just £2, people receive a bag of shopping worth between £20 to £25For just £2, people receive a bag of shopping worth between £20 to £25 (Image: Lawrence Carey)

In total, the shop is believed to be worth between £20 and £25. 

Mr Carey says people are not only using the sites for food, but also for the individual communities being built in each one. 

"Many come to see friends and to meet new people," he said.

"It's about a sense of community as much as it is about the service."

The sites have no qualifying criteria to use the service, with no referrals necessary. 

People are entitled to one bag per week per shop - though people are welcome to use multiple sites across the town in the same week.

"You are literally topping up your shop. It is relative to where you are at," said Mr Carey.

"If you have nothing in your cupboards, you are topping up from nothing.

"If you have half a cupboard, you are topping up from there.

"You just turn up at the shop and join the queue.

“We don’t alienate anybody and everyone is welcome."