Increase in emergency food parcels at Colchester Foodbank
PUBLISHED: 00:01 25 April 2019 | UPDATED: 10:18 25 April 2019
Colchester Foodbank has seen a dramatic rise in the number of emergency food parcels it handed out last year.
A total of 3,446 three-day emergency food parcels were handed out to 7,437 people - 4,633 adults and 2,804 children - between April 2018 and March 2019.
This is a 13.6% increase in the same period last year.
The foodbank's figures match up with the national picture with a record rise in foodbank use across the UK, the Trussell Trust has revealed.
Colchester Foodbank believes the increase locally is because of problems with the Universal Credit benefits system, such as five-week waits for first payments and delayed payments.
It adds that although it is not the only benefit payment people have been having problems with, the issues faced by people moving onto the new system are significant.
The Rev Andrew Fordyce, chairman of Colchester Foodbank, said: “No-one should need a foodbank's help and we want to see an end to local people needing emergency food at all.
“It doesn't have to be this way - our benefits system is supposed to protect us all from being swept into poverty.
“Universal Credit should be part of the solution but currently the five week wait is leaving many without enough money to cover the basics. This isn't right.
“Until we reach a future where foodbanks are no longer needed, we'll continue to provide vital support when it matters most.
“We're dedicated to ensuring that people in our community without enough money for food are able to access emergency support.
“Our vital work in the community has only been possible in the last year because of the incredible generosity shown by local people in donating food, time and funds. Thank you.”
For more information or to donate to the foodbank, visit colchester.foodbank.org.uk/give-help