A BRADFORD charity which has helped feed the city's most vulnerable families has marked over a year of pandemic support.

Inspire Futures Foundation began supporting families ahead of the first lockdown in 2020, making it one of the first organisations to help those in need.

In the difficult months that followed those early warnings about the virus, founder Mushtaq Hussain said their support quickly became a "lifeline" for families.

With furlough and unemployment worsening financial difficulties before coronavirus, more and more people needed help with food and hygiene packages.

Now, as we move into a world where we learn how to live with Covid-19, Mushtaq is hopeful projects like his will "flourish" and create "a brighter future" for Bradford.

Speaking to the Telegraph & Argus, the founder said: "In terms of moving forward, I think there are so many wonderful groups and individuals who have shown that we can work together and make a huge impact. I hope that projects will flourish and we are able to alleviate poverty in our City and help create a brighter future.

"Our service users have seen us as a lifeline! Many families have literally shed tears when we have been able to respond to their prayers for help which has been emotional for us as an organisation and extremely heart warming for the volunteers to see that their time has made a positive difference.

"The pandemic has been extremely challenging and very difficult for the families who access our services. The families range from the indigenous communities to a range of new arrivals, many of who are refugees, asylum seekers and those who have just arrived in the Bradford areas.

"The pandemic has disproportionately affected them because they were already in financial difficulties and struggling to engage in services, but the lack of opportunity during the pandemic meant that they were left isolated and financially vulnerable.

"We saw a huge increase in the number of families who contacted us for support, which comprised of food parcels, hygiene products and even some financial support towards the payment of basic bills to avoid eviction. The families have been left in severe hardship due to employment issues, lack of networking and trying to break away from poverty."

From making sure families were given culturally sensitive food to working alongside the University of Bradford to support students who were isolated, the team of volunteers have been just some of those making sure no one is left to struggle alone.

Mushtaq said: "We have learnt that there is a great deal of poverty within our city and so many individuals and families are really finding it difficult to live on a daily or weekly basis.

"This is really upsetting and worrying however, our volunteers have demonstrated that we will ensure that we will continue to provide the support to those in need, regardless of faith or culture."