GENEROUS growers throughout the Tyne Valley have been praised for their community kindness.

Hexham Fresh Food Bank is a community association made up of volunteer gardeners who grow and harvest fresh produce for delivery to those most in need.

The group consists of more than 230 members, and is rising, thanks to an increase in 'grow your own' this year.

For many, cultivating their own produce from their own green spaces has become a eco-friendly and ethical alternative.

With millions restricted to their homes during lockdown the garden became more vital than ever. Spare time was spent on fresh produce full in nutritional value and free from stratospheric air miles.

Ginnie O'Farrell, who owns an allotment plot in Hexham and has been a regular contributor to the West Northumberland Foodbank, came up with an idea of providing surplus produce.

"Everything about this is a win," Ginnie said.

"It's great for the growers because they ensure none of their produce goes to waste.

"They also feel great sharing what they have grown to others in need."

Produce is dropped off at the Matthias Winter shop in Hexham's town centre and transported to the foodbank on Burn Lane in Hexham.

Demand throughout the district is now so high that produce is being sent to Prudhoe and Haltwhistle.

"We have seen people who are tremendously experience and offering advise to our new members," Ginnie said.

"Some people have grown for the first time this year."

By turning fresh produce into read-made meals from fruit pies, tarts and crumbles, group members are constantly doing their bit to provide for those in need.

The foodbank is currently delivering to around 280 households, according to Ginnie, and there continues to be "a big demand for everything."

Ginnie added: "Produce that has a long shelf life is favoured.

"The organic nature of the produce is fantastic.

"It's caring for people in the community, which is a win for all."

Contributors can join the community effort at Hexham Fresh Food Bank on Facebook.