Rise in demand sees Colchester Foodbank now open six days a week
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A north Essex foodbank has been forced to open for a sixth day a week to cope with soaring demand.
Colchester Foodbank, which is the busiest foodbank in the county, provided three day a week emergency food supplied to more than 7,000 people in crisis last year.
But now, the foodbank is set to open on Saturdays, as well as every working weekday, with support from the Community Fund from Colchester Borough Homes and One Colchester Winter Resilience Fund.
Michael Beckett, manager at Colchester Foodbank based in Moorside Business Park, said: “For the last decade, the foodbank has seen a trend of increasing demand and with the ongoing impact of Universal Credit and Brexit, we don’t expect this trend to change any time soon.
“It isn’t right that people, especially children, suffer without food in Colchester or the surrounding area.”
Mr Beckett said that people had complained that they were unable to access the foodbank on weekdays as relatives who would normally help them to get there are too busy at work.
Opening on a Saturday will be on a pilot basis to find out if it helps to better manage the demand for the service.
He added: “We continue to work with other foodbanks across the country to campaign for long-term change so hopefully we can reach a future where the foodbank can close through lack of demand.
“Whilst that work is underway, we’ll do all we can to make sure local people at risk of hunger get crucial support including opening on Saturdays now.
“We’re extremely fortunate that local people and organisations are so generous in allowing us to do this.”
Gareth Mitchell, chief executive of Colchester Borough Homes, said the foodbank does “crucial work in the community”.
He added: “We are proud that the funding is being used to expand the service they offer.”
A spokesman from the One Colchester Winter Resilience funding panel said: “We are pleased to be able to assist Colchester Foodbank to address the needs of our community members.”
Donations of food items such as tinned vegetables, packets of rice, teabags, as well as size four to six nappies, washing capsules and deodorant are particularly needed and can be dropped off at the warehouse or at supermarkets.
Donations can also be made online.
Colchester Foodbank is open from 10am-2pm Monday to Saturday.