MORE families in the UK are battling extreme poverty than ever before – with requests for help to the National Zakat Foundation (NZF)’s Hardship Relief Fund doubling in the space of a year.

The NZF has distributed over £170,000 to 542 people in Bradford over the last 12 months, while it has helped over 15,000 people nationally over the same period.

Bradford West has the fastest-growing rate of poverty in England, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Charities Islamic Relief and Muslim Aid are contributing hundreds of thousands of pounds to the NZF to help those in poverty across the UK, alongside their ongoing efforts to support those in war-torn countries such as Syria and Yemen.

With thousands more applying for urgent help every month, the partnership is part of a collaborative effort to help ease the suffering felt by so many, particularly in the wake of Ramadan, a time associated with charity and kindness.

The NZF added that almost half of all Muslim people in the UK are living in poverty, which is more than twice the national average of 20 per cent.

Naz Shah, Labour MP for Bradford West, voiced her support for the joint effort which is trying to improve the situation.

“During Ramadan, Muslims are at the forefront of giving charity as part of our faith”, Ms Shah said.

“This year, with the cost-of-living soaring, I welcome this collaboration as a much-needed intervention which will help families in Bradford and across the UK”.

Kashif Shabir, Chief Executive of London-based Muslim Aid, added: "At Muslim Aid, our international programmes support people facing hardship in countries across the world.

“However, we can’t ignore people closer to home, right here in the UK.

“Many in our communities are experiencing poverty. On our doorsteps, people are struggling to stay afloat as food prices and energy bills rise to record levels.”

Tufail Hussain, Director of Islamic Relief UK, also said: “Many families in the UK are struggling to put food on the table and parents are going hungry so their children can eat.

“The cost-of-living crisis is pushing families deeper into poverty – this should not be happening in one of the richest countries in the world”.

Sohail Hanif, Chief Executive of the NZF, also said: “We are partnering to address the unprecedented needs of people facing hardship here in the UK.

“Demand for our services has never been higher and collaborations like this are key to supporting our communities”.