A FOODBANK customer says people shouldn’t be ashamed to take the handouts The Gazette spoke to the man, in his forties, from Tilbury, after revealing how almost 3,000 people have relied on Thurrock foodbanks since April.

The man, who asked not to be named, said he had been unemployed for four years since losing his job as a driver.

He first came across the foodbank, at St John’s Church, in Dock Road, Tilbury, six months ago when a friend told him of the service.

He said: “I didn’t really want to do it, but it worked in my favour.

“If anyone is out there who needs it, go and do it. It’s not like someone is going to judge you for it. At the end of the day, it helps you get by.”

The man has used the foodbank three times so far, but tries to avoid it by getting by on his benefits.

He said: “The service is there, if you need it. Don’t be ashamed of using it. I would use it more, if I had to. People can benefit from it.”

The man now occasionally goes to the foodbank to volunteer.

Volunteers were thanked by Angie Gaywood, councillor responsible for public protection, at the latest council meeting, as she hit out at the Government for refusing £22million of EU funding to help run UK foodbanks.

Ms Gaywood said: “The foodbank in Thurrock needs new premises with the increase in demand.

“This funding from Brussels could go towards it and costs such as administration. Where is this support from our Government going to come from to help our local people?”

If you need help from a foodbank, e-mail Victoria Windus at victoriawindus@thurrock.foodbank.org.uk