Cash raised from the sale of old books is helping to start a new chapter in the fight against food poverty in Ayr.

Staff from Voluntary Action South Ayrshire (VASA) and South Ayrshire Lifeline this week presented a cheque for £1,000 to the Ayr Food Pantry, which is set to open soon in Newmarket Street.

More than 800 boxes of second-hand books looked destined for landfill until staff at VASA stepped in to rescue them.

Vivienne McNeill, of VASA’s South Ayrshire Lifeline, said: “It was quite a task as there must have been close to 20,000 books and we only had a short time to find new homes for them but, thanks to the sheer determination and hard work of the whole team, not one single book was dumped.”

Books were donated to a list of Ayrshire charities and organisations, including Dunaskin Heritage Centre, and a container load of educational and children’s books is bound for Malawi.

The £1,000 was raised by selling some antique books that were unearthed from the boxes and that money will now be ploughed into the Food Pantry, which aims to help people make their money go further by reducing their shopping bills, while offering dignity, choice and food quality.

A delighted Adam Donnan, co-ordinator of the Food Pantry, said: “The Pantry is all about being sustainable and reducing waste so it’s just so fitting that this money was raised by saving things from going to landfill, and it will be put to good use in this new money-saving resource for local people.”