MORE than 1,000 people than ever before have turned to the foodbank in Chelmsford, latest stats have revealed.
The Chelmsford Foodbank, based in Waterfront Place, Wharf Road, revealed in the eight months - between April 1 last year through to January - 1,961 people collected food parcels.
This compares to just 869 using the service in the eight months before - between July 2012 and March 2013.
An increase of 1,092.
The scheme backed by the Trussell Trust charity collects food donations from the public to be handed out via a voucher system to those struggling financially.
Ruth Leverett, project manager at Chelmsford, said the amount of people coming for their help locally has been “surprising”.
Mrs Leverett said: “People do view Chelmsford as being an affluent area, but there is poverty hidden in the city.
“I think there are a combination of different factors which are leading to the amount of people coming to us.
“The cost of living is going up so people are struggling to pay bills, there are changes being made to the benefit system and also people are more aware of us now.”
She went onto say more could be done by the Government to help alleviate the problems being suffered by those coming through their doors.
“I think some of the changes to things like benefits could be more considerate,” Mrs Leverett said.
“They seem to be blanketed across the whole system and it is causing problems.
“Other moves like providing more jobs and trying to cut energy bills will also provide help.”
Food which can be donated to the scheme must be non-perishable such as rice, tinned fruit, sugar and instant mash.
For more details about the project, which is open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 10am and 12.30pm, visit www.chelmsford.foodbank.org.uk.