13 May Colchester Rallies Behind Busiest Foodbank in Essex
Colchester residents can be proud of helping the Colchester Foodbank become the most liked Foodbank in the country. When Mike Beckett, Foodbank CEO, put out a message on Facebook asking for likes, to close the gap, 500 new likes were achieved on the same day, overtaking Dundee and making Colchester the most Liked Foodbank in the UK.
The surge in likes comes after a Facebook post on the 25th April when Mr Beckett put out a lighter request than normal from the Foodbank, asking for likes, appealing to help them gain 500 new likes and beat Dundee. The public quickly got behind the Foodbank. Facebook groups including the Colchester Community Group, Colchester Borough Emergency Coordinators Group, Colchester’s Anti Loo Roll Brigade and the Colchester Local Business Collaboration Group, which all got behind the request and pushed for likes.
Mike Beckett commented, “Likes are important. They extend our reach. The more people who can see what we need, the more likely the Foodbank can get the support that it needs. We reached a spike in demand during the COVID-19 pandemic and were 300% busier than normal. This has levelled off at over 200% compared to last year. Gaining likes is resilience planning. People who like our page can be reminded to give a can or packet when they shop, or do a sponsored challenge. People are more likely to be reminded of us. Likes keep us in their mind’s eye and help us help more people.”
Becoming the most liked Foodbank in the UK did not happen by chance. When Mike Beckett first started working at the Foodbank as a volunteer in 2017, the Colchester Foodbank had 1500 likes and was outside the top 20 Foodbanks in the country. Mike decided to push for likes and has been asking for likes for over 2 years. In his first year at the Foodbank, by March 2018 Colchester reached 7th in the UK. Practised in their approach, they thank their volunteers regularly and ask for a like. They also ask people to give them a like when they interacted with them.
The Foodbank plans to share more information about forthcoming changes soon, but the first change we are making is extending the opening hours of Greenstead Foodbank at the Colchester Credit Union building to three days a week 10am till noon on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.”
“We were not expecting to get that close to the request for 500 likes. When we achieved it, we were delighted and celebrated at the Foodbank with a cup of tea or coffee. That’s as glamorous as it gets for us! From the bottom of our hearts, we’d like to extend a big thank you to Colchester for supporting the Foodbank. Generosity has been overwhelming and we need to keep it up. Special thanks to the general public, all the Supermarkets for their ongoing support. As well as Colchester United, British Gas and Rollerworld for providing vans for pickups, Good Gym for their continued support, many local cafes, pubs, social clubs and other charities with stock that they kindly donated. Thanks to Colchester Borough Council for funding. Thanks to Cardea Homes for providing a warehouse. Thanks to the Mayors of Wivenhoe, Brightlingsea and Colchester and the Deputy of Brightlingsea, who lent us their support by naming The Foodbank as one of their chosen charities. Thanks to Stanway garden centre Cafe for making us Charity of the Year. Thanks to KG Moore for collecting donations at their marketing events and for providing weekly comms support. And thanks to all those lending us additional community space which is much needed due to social distancing.