FOODBANKS are in need of extra support over the summer holidays as free school meals are not available, a Trust says.

The Trussell Trust’s network of more than 420 foodbanks, which includes Colchester, Brightlingsea and Wivenhoe, provided 3,500 more three-day emergency food supplies to children during July and August 2017 compared to the previous two months.

Primary school children were most likely to receive support from a foodbank last summer.

Families who rely on free school meals can find themselves facing hunger in the school holidays, when there is extra financial pressure to provide main meals.

Last year’s report from The All Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger estimated the loss of free school meals during the holidays adds between £30 and £40 a week to parents’ outgoings for one child.

Michael Beckett, chief officer at Colchester Foodbank, said: “Lots of people are just getting by day-to-day but find their income simply won’t stretch to meet the extra pressure of missing free school meals, or paying for extra childcare during the holidays.

"Help is here in Colchester, everyone who comes to the foodbank is referred by a local agency who holds our vouchers.

“No one should need a foodbank’s help, and we’re determined to work alongside other foodbanks to bring about long-term change to end hunger not only during the holidays, but at any time of year.

"Whilst we work towards this, we’ll continue to take practical action on the ground, providing the best emergency support possible to local people facing hunger.

"It’s only with the community’s help that we’re able to continue, as we rely on local donations to run the foodbank.”

Samantha Stapley, director of operations at The Trussell Trust, said foodbanks cannot be a long term to solution to hunger.

She added: "No one should face going hungry, and although our network will be doing all they can this summer to help families, no charity can replace people having enough money for the basics.

"We know particular groups of people are most likely to need a foodbank, so let’s make sure no one is swept into destitution. Our benefits system can, and must, act as an anchor to protect people from being pulled into poverty.”

Colchester Foodbank’s biggest cost is renting the warehouse at Moorside Business Park.

They are looking to buy a permanent building to see them through until they are no longer needed.

Giving £10 could help pay for a brick.

Donations can be made via Co-Op Bank. Account name: Colchester Foodbank. Account number: 65361687. Sort Code: 08/92/99 or in person at the foodbank.