Community helps foodbank under pressure

Uttlesford Foodbank volunteer receiving donations from Saffron Walden Town Council

Uttlesford Foodbank volunteer receiving donations from Saffron Walden Town Council - Credit: Judith Thompson

Uttlesford Foodbank has been forced to recruit additional volunteers as demand for its services soars.

The organisation is facing increased pressures arising from the need to self-isolate and the demands of lockdown, but local residents have been stepping up with support.

Steph Maxwell, project coordinator at Uttlesford Foodbank, said: “It does seem a lot busier compared to December.”  

She said reasons include job losses, lower furlough pay, Universal Credit delays and financial pressures caused by Christmas.

She said donation banks in supermarkets have been “very well supported”, including Co-Op and Tesco in Dunmow, Co-Op in Flitch Green, Co-Op in Stansted and Tesco and Waitrose in Saffron Walden.

“We have been very lucky, people in Uttlesford have been very generous with food support and financial donations. We couldn’t do it without them, they have been amazing. People who receive food parcels also want to know how they can help so they also contribute to the society. 

“I am working with a great team of people. It’s important to address food insecurity for vulnerable families. It’s a service that is needed and I wish it wasn’t, we are one of the richest nations in the world and we have to have a foodbank.” 

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This month, Saffron Walden Town Council successfully secured a grant of £1,950 from the county council's Lockdown Support Fund to spend on basic supplies for Uttlesford Foodbank. 

The council has been working throughout the pandemic to fund emergency food and supplies for vulnerable individuals and families. 

Tourist information officer Judith Thomson, who normally deals with events, has been redirected  towards helping the foodbank on a weekly basis. 

Judith said: “We have been in contact weekly with the foodbank, finding out what they are short of and what support they need.  

“They also post on their website and Facebook page to say what they need.” 

This month, Dunmow Rotary delivered 823kg of supplies to Uttlesford Foodbank after a successful reverse advent calendar saw its members donating items throughout December.

You can post cheques to the foodbank or donate money online at The foodbank also provides regular updates on its website and Facebook page about items they need.