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Essex’s busiest food bank shares ‘concerns for this winter’

06 Nov Essex’s busiest food bank shares ‘concerns for this winter’

Colchester Foodbank continues to be the busiest foodbank in Essex, it provided 3,057 three day emergency food supplies to local people between 1st April and 30th September this year. Of this number,1104 just over one in three, went to children.

The foodbank, a member of The Trussell Trust͛s network which has today reported a UK-wide increase in foodbank use of 13% nationally, it is concerned its help will be even more needed in the next six months of the year, as the colder weather draws in. The figures show locally we’ve had a 14% increase in the number of emergency food parcels given to local people in crisis, over the same period last year. The charity believes the local increase is due to people struggling with continued issues with waiting for Universal Credit and people already struggling on low income dealing with an unexpected financial crisis. Although things would be a lot worse without our partner local groups like Monkwick Munch Club, Make Lunch and Firstsite who we support providing non-term time free school meals for local children.

Colchester Foodbank along with it’s local partners Wivenhoe and Brightlingsea Foodbanks shares the concerns of other foodbanks in the Trussell Trust’s network about the Government’s new benefits system, Universal Credit. The foodbank has needed to give emergency food and support to people who are waiting weeks for a first Universal Credit payment, not able to access support or receiving payments that don’t cover the cost of essentials.

Michael Beckett, Foodbank Manager of Colchester Foodbank said:
“It’s a real concern that in only six months we’ve provided emergency supplies to fed 3,057 local people. These figures don’t even cover our busiest time of year – as the colder weather draws in, we often find more people needing our help. It’s not right that anyone in East Anglia is being forced to turn to our foodbank. Our volunteers offer vital support when it matters most, but they should not need to.”

He added “We want to see an end to local people needing emergency food – with a benefits system that catches people before they fall into crisis, and secure work that provides people with enough money to cover the cost of essentials, we could reach that future. We’re determined to make sure that until that time comes, emergency help is here for people in crisis, but there needs to be some long-term change because we don’t want the Foodbank to be here forever. The foodbank is planning for the long-term to cope with the increasing demand trend by raising money to buy a new Food HQ, we are particularly asking for the public’s help with our Crowdfunder campaign. The charity has also asked for festive donations to be donated in early December at the latest, preferably in November to ensure volunteers have enough time to process and distribute these donations to people before Christmas.”