The manager of Epping Forest Foodbank is encouraging more people to learn more about how charity helps vulnerable residents head of their sixth-year anniversary.

The foodbank on Langston Road, Loughton, was set up on June 22, 2013, where they have provided emergency food and toiletries for people experiencing financial issues.

Manager, Heather Scholer, felt the need to highlight how the foodbank operates following a resident questioning several issues on the matter.

She said: “Many people will say that going to a foodbank is their last resort for help.

“People feel that they do not have a voice and we can be that voice for them, we want anyone who has fallen on hard times to seek support from a front line care professional so they can be supported to resolve their underlying crisid.”

Following an article published earlier this year, statistics showed a 22 per cent increase of people visiting Epping Forest foodbank.

Ms Scholer explained that ongoing issues with Universal Credit, benefit payments and reduction in available local government and charity organisation support are considered reasons why numbers have increased.

The changes to the benefit system mean families must wait five weeks minimum before they receive Universal Credit once they have applied.

The wait for some people means it can result in them being forced to choose between running water, electricity or food on the table.

The foodbank manager said this system is causing many families to sink deeper into financial crisis resulting in people suffering depression and breakdowns.

“Universal Credit should be part of the solution but currently the five-week wait is leaving many without enough money to cover the basics. This isn’t right.”

“We have been asked to attend many events across the district to make people aware we are here and ready to help.”

Epping Forest Foodbank officially became a registered (CIO reg. no 1182270) in May 2019.

The charity receives financial support from Loughton Town Council and Epping Forest District Council's Health and Wellbeing team.

The council's and foodank are partnered provide holiday clubs for those living in poverty giving them a break of experiencing hunger, isolation and sometimes loneliness.

Despite the increased footfall, the foodbank noted they only see a household requiring an emergency food package usually once in a space of six months.

The food vouchers are provided to residents who attend referral agencies, who then assess whether the household is in a financial crisis and unable to buy food.

However, depending on the individual’s crisis, referral agencies may issue more than one voucher to the same household.

“We always check that all food donated is uneaten, not broken to preserve people’s dignity.” explained Ms Scholer.

Part of the Trussell Trust Foodbank network, the foodbank now has its own trustees and has achieved its goal of extending help to those beyond the town.

The team are continuing to seek support from businesses and are seeking printers to produce marketing materials, a book keeper and a long office desk for Unit-D8.

“I want to be doing myself out of a job, explained Ms Scholer. “We want to tackle these issues.

“We have to be sustainable to continue so we encourage as many people to become volunteers and donate what they can.

“We expect it to get a lot busier before it gets a lot quieter. We do not wish to be here for another ten years, but we really do not know.”

Epping Forest Foodbank now has a ‘Donate now’ button on their website, visit to make a donation.

Information can be found on the Trussell Trust website a