What’s on the line? | Spotlight on Colchester Foodbank

This week, our Information & Signposting Lead, Sharon went along to visit Colchester Foodbank to meet Michael, Amanda and their wonderful volunteers who have come together to help local people in crisis.

The Foodbank has been running for over a decade and provides emergency food parcels for people who would other wise go hungry. With one in every five people in the UK now living below the poverty line, last year alone Colchester Foodbank provided 7000 people with three days’ worth of emergency food, which is the standard contents of a food parcel with items selected to provide nutritional value. Toiletries such as deodorant, toilet paper and shampoo can also be included, along with laundry detergent.

There are numerous reasons why a person finds themselves in the position of being unable to afford food, such as redundancy, relationship breakdown, being a victim of crime or having to pay a large, unexpected bill. Records show that the top three reasons for individuals attending the Colchester Foodbank are changes to benefits, delays in benefits being paid and low income.

Food is donated by local individuals, faith organisations and businesses, and collected, sorted and packed by the Foodbank team. Individuals can be given a foodbank voucher by their social worker, Citizens Advice, housing agency or doctor, or any organisation that the Foodbank has partnered with. When they go along to collect their food parcel, they are welcomed by the team who sit down with them to have a chat over a hot drink, where they are also offered a listening ear and signposting to other appropriate support. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly, with volunteers on hand to help.

The Foodbank welcome donations, so if you would like to participate, you can do so at all the major Supermarkets in Colchester which have a collection point by the door. Alternatively, donations can be taken to them at 33 Moorside Business Park, Moorside, Colchester, CO1 2ZF, during their opening hours of 10am-2pm Monday to Saturday.

Items particularly needed are;

  • Small bags of rice
  • longlife milk
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Longlife juice
  • Shampoo
  • Reuseable bags
  • Squash
  • Tinned Fruit
  • Deodorants
  • Tinned Potatoes
  • Tinned Puddings
  • Tins or packets of custard
  • Jam
  • Peanut butter
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Razors
  • Shower gel
  • Small jars of coffee
  • Small washing powder / liquid
  • Small multipack snacks

If you feel that you need the help of a foodbank, call the Healthwatch Essex helpline on 0800 300 1895, text us on 07712 395 398 or email info@healthwatchessex.org.uk and we will be happy to give you information on your nearest project and how to access it.