Colchester Borough Council’s Cabinet has pledged to help local food agencies as they face drops in donations and rising demand, as they support the people of Colchester through the cost-of-living crisis.
Support totalling £25,000 will be given to Colchester Foodbank (£10,000), BOAZ Outreach Project (£5,000), North Essex Support Team (NEST) (£5,000) and Anti Loo Roll Brigade (ALB) Colchester (£5,000).
Cllr David King, Leader of Colchester Borough Council, with Labour and Green Party leaders Cllr Adam Fox and Cllr Steph Nissen, said: “Each of these great agencies do a fantastic job of helping people who find themselves in very difficult circumstances and to get food on the table.
“Tackling the cost-of-living crisis is a key priority for this administration. We are here to help those who help others. And with the recent drop in donations and a rise in demand, this funding is needed right now to ensure their great work can continue.
“Our residents should be reassured that we will do all we can to see them through these tough times, with the help of our partners. We will help those who need it most. We will do all we can to help the most financially vulnerable in our communities.”
Elizabeth Alake-Akinyemi, of the BOAZ Outreach Project, said: “This financial aid could not have come at a better time. A lot of the families that are currently turning to us for support are hardworking people, who are falling on hard times due to the ongoing rising cost of living. We are grateful for this funding; it will enable us to meet additional needs and provide relief for more families.”
Mike Beckett, Manager of Colchester Foodbank, said: “Colchester Foodbank is ever so grateful to receive this funding, as it allows us to make sure we can continue our provision into the coming winter to provide emergency food parcels to support residents in crisis.
“In 2021, 43 per cent of our clients were children and we were the busiest foodbank in the East of England, with 2022 being busier still.
“We donate nutritionally balanced food parcels to local people in crisis and work in partnership with other charities, like Citizens Advice Colchester, North Essex Uniform Exchange, Tots 2 Teens babybank, Refocus, who provide therapeutic art packs, Bridgeway, Colchester Council Benefits Team, CAP, Peabody and the other charities the council is supporting, to provide as much joined-up help so clients can get the point where they do not need the Foodbank anymore.
“We wouldn't be able to provide the support we do without the goodwill of the general public who regularly donate money via our website or food at the supermarket enabling us to do the work we do. We are very grateful to the public and the council for their ongoing support in the cost-of-living crisis.”
Les Nicoll, North Essex Support Team (NEST), said: “We are extremely excited to receive this funding as it will allow us to develop our Slow Cooker Club to support up to 50 struggling families. Already around 150+ families have benefitted from this initiative.
“We donate free slow cookers, kitchen tools, plus then spices, herbs, recipe cards and all the ingredients for a wholesome meal of good ingredients each week for six weeks. This gives parents and children the opportunity to learn new cooking skills and better use of fresh vegetables. But most of all create hot enjoyable meals for their whole family completely free of charge.”
Financial support is part of the three-point plan agreed by the Cabinet that will focus resources on crisis support, increasing the level of help available, and reducing further hardship. Additional measures will target those most in need, substantially increase the range of advice and information available, and will strengthen the capacity of the council’s own teams to meet rising demand for support, advice and crisis help.
Pictured above: Cllr David King, Leader of Colchester Borough Council (far right) is joined (L to R) by Cllr Adam Fox, Cllr Steph Nissen, Mike Beckett CEO Food Bank Colchester and Elizabeth Alake-Akinyemi of the BOAZ Outreach Project. Photo credit: Colchester Borough Council.