GOOD Samaritans are being encouraged to 'buy a brick' to help find Colchester Foodbank a permanent home.

The foodbank is appealing to buy a new building after coming to terms with the fact poverty is still rife.

At their annual meeting staff at the foodbank revealed a new idea to raise funds for a permanent building close to their current space at Moorside Business Park.

They have already raised £20, 119.

The 'buy a brick' initiative invites people to pay £10 towards the cost of a new building, which is likely to total about £200,000.

Michael Beckett, who has recently been promoted from interim manager to chief officer, said he hoped it would get a positive response.

At Colchester Foodbank alone there has been a 13.5 per cent increase in demand in the last financial year, which is just above the national average of 13 per cent.

It is also up three per cent from the year before.

At the moment, the meet and greet area is seeing between 11 to 15 people a day. Some of these people have mental health issues, and come from all walks of life.

At the meeting, bishop of Colchester Roger Morris slammed the benefit system for being the cause of continued poverty.

Reverend Caroline Beckett, Michael's wife and current chair of trustees at the foodbank, said they were in a good position but there was more to be done.

She said: "Financially we are stable, but more is always needed.

"When you view it against the backdrop of an increase in clients last year, there is much to be done, and those stable finances suddenly seem like a drop in the ocean."

The foodbank was in a £5,100 deficit before Mr Beckett joined as manager in the autumn, however with hard work they are now showing a small surplus.

Colchester Foodbank is looking into the possibility of getting a commercial mortgage for a new space.

To help generate funding, a Premises Fund has been set up with the Co-operative Bank.

Donations can be made to: Account name: Colchester Foodbank

Account number: 65361687

Sort Code: 08/92/99