On Thursday 11 July the Mayor of Colchester, Counsellor Nick Cope, officially opened Colchester Foodbank’s new warehouse in Langham. It is hoped the larger warehouse will help the Foodbank to meet the ever-increasing demand for its services. The opening also marked 10 years of incredible work carried out by staff and volunteers in supporting people in crisis across Colchester.
Since the Foodbank first launched in 2009 users have grown steadily each year – from a handful of clients in 2009/10 to 6,549 in 2017/18. The largest increase was 888 following the roll-out of Universal Credit, with one in three of those in crisis being children. Staff and volunteers are now preparing for the possibility of a further increase following Brexit in the Autumn. The new warehouse is much bigger than the Foodbank’s previous premises, and will enable the team to store and distribute even more food to those local people that rely heavily on its services.
Foodbank staff and volunteers were joined at the new warehouse by Sir Bernard Jenkin MP and the Bishop of Colchester, the Right Reverend Roger Morris. The event was marked with the unveiling of a plaque by the Mayor of Colchester and a blessing from the Bishop of Colchester. Guests heard from a previous foodbank client, about how the Foodbank had supported them and were also treated to entertainment from local singer, Polly Haynes.
Patron of Colchester Foodbank, the Right Reverend Roger Morris, the Bishop of Colchester said: “Thank you to the staff and volunteers for all that they do here at Colchester Foodbank and I mean ‘all’ that they do. For you do so much more than just feed those who are hungry; you show them love – you give them hope and you help them get back some sense of dignity – of humanity that has been robbed from them by the cruel, grinding poverty in which they have found themselves”.
The new warehouse has been kindly donated to Colchester Foodbank by local business, Cardea Homes. Colchester-based Cardea Homes is a national social housing company with a strong focus on sustainability and commitment to re-investing in local communities.
Michael Beckett, Colchester Foodbank’s Chief Officer said: “We’re preparing our crisis response to Brexit, as this poses the most immediate and severe risks to the supply of food and price of essentials. But, there’s a limit to how much we can prepare. We’re seeing the highest levels of need we’ve ever had and we are stretched.
“The risk that the cost of essentials will increase following the UK leaving the EU was very strong; however, those who are already struggling ‘to put food on the table’ will be the least able to keep up with the rising cost of living”.
“We continue to rely on support driven by volunteers, financial donations, and food donations to pick up the pieces, so we are very grateful for organisations like Cardea Homes that take their corporate social responsibility seriously and are willing to help local people in crisis. With the help of Cardea Homes we can continue to make such a big difference to so many lives”.
Colchester Foodbank is the busiest foodbank in Essex providing three-day packages of nutritionally balanced food to over 500 people in crisis across Colchester each month. Staff and volunteers also provide additional support to help people resolve the challenges they face. The Foodbank’s running costs are raised locally and it relies on the support of the community to help end hunger. To find out how you can support the work of Colchester Foodbank please visit www.colchester.foodbank.org.uk/give-help.