A charity which is being supported by Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford has provided 268,000 meals for Cumbrians in need during the lockdown.

Rashford, who this week forced a Government U-turn on free school meals, has raised £20m for the FareShare charity which is also being supported by The Cumberland Building Society.

The charity, which distributes surplus food to frontline organisations such as food banks, has delivered the equivalent of 785,000 meals over the last 12 weeks, including 268,000 in Cumbria.

The Cumberland is going to donate money to the charity as part of its Pledge for Votes scheme, which it is due to run at its annual general meeting on July 21.

As part of the scheme, it donates £1 for every vote cast at the AGM to a chosen charity.

Last year more than £18,000 was provided to children’s charity Barnardo’s and this year it is the turn of FareShare.

The funding will be shared between the two regional branches - FareShare Glasgow and West of Scotland, which covers Dumfries and Galloway, and FareShare Lancashire and Cumbria.

The Cumberland AGM will be held on July 21 and eligible members will be able to vote.

Phillip Ward, brand manager at The Cumberland, said: “Our priority is to keep our customers and our team safe, so we’re encouraging people not to attend our AGM in person this year.

"However, we very much want our members to vote, and they‘ll be able to do this online or by post as soon as they receive their voting documentation.

“Thanks to our link-up with FareShare, they will be making a difference to the lives of many people who are struggling right now.

“Eligible members will be receiving a letter from us soon which includes information on how to vote.”

Members can usually cast their votes at branches but this year, because of the coronavirus restrictions, The Cumberland is only accepting votes online and by post.

Alasdair Jackson who helps to run FareShare Lancashire and Cumbria said demand in the region has increased by 50 per cent during the coronavirus crisis.

“The key for us over the next six to twelve months is keeping it in the centre of people’s thoughts and attention,” he said.

“This issue of food poverty isn’t going to go away, and as more and more people will unfortunately end up unemployed at the end of this, I think we will see an even bigger increase in demand.

“We are not for profit. We simply exist to help people. The money from The Cumberland will enable us to get that food and take it to where it needs to go.”