A FOODBANK has reached crisis point again this winter, as it has already provided more than 3,000 food parcels to those in need.

Colchester Foodbank continues to be the busiest foodbank in Essex giving out 3,057 three-day emergency food supplies to people between April 1 and September 30.

Of this number, 1,104 went to children.

The foodbank at Moorside Business Park, which is a member of the Trussell Trust͛, is concerned its help will be needed even more in the next six months.

In Colchester, there was a 14 per cent increase in the number of emergency food parcels given out over the same period last year.

The charity believes the increase is due to people struggling following the introduction of Universal Credit.

Colchester Foodbank, along with its partners in Wivenhoe and Brightlingsea, share concerns about the Government’s new Universal Credit benefits system.

Michael Beckett, Colchester Foodbank manager, said: “These figures don’t even cover our busiest time of year.

“As the colder weather draws in, we often find more people needing our help.”

He added: ““Our volunteers offer vital support when it matters most, but they should not need to.

“We want to see an end to people needing emergency food – with a benefits system that catches people before they fall into crisis, and secure work that provides people with enough money to cover the cost of essentials.

“We’re determined to make sure until that time comes.

“Emergency help is here for people in crisis, but there needs to be some long-term change because we don’t want the foodbank to be here forever.”

The foodbank is planning for the long-term to cope with the increasing demand by raising money to buy a new head quarters.

The running costs for the foodbank last year were around £36,000, all of which was raised locally to enable the volunteers to continue their work

About £20,000 of this goes on renting out out their building.

The foodbank hopes to raise enough money to get a mortgage to buy its own premises and save money in the long run.

To donate towards the cost of a new building, visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/colchesterfoodbank.