Demand for help from a foodbank in one of the UK’s wealthiest places is growing at “a very fast rate”, according to volunteers.

Elmbridge in Surrey has been called the “Beverly Hills of Britain”, and is known for its high house prices, celebrity residents and high average incomes.

Despite that, East Elmbridge foodbank in Esher has seen a big growth in demand, and last year it helped more than 800 people with three-day emergency food supplies. Donations are organised and collected, and then handed out to local residents who are in need. 

Catherine Heavens, one of the team of volunteers who run the service, said: “There used to be a stigma around foodbanks, but now for a lot of people they are a necessity.”

She said that Esher is a “divided town” with huge affluence but also lower income areas of around 400 council houses and flats, and more people are struggling with debt and higher rents.

Elmbridge has the highest number of houses worth more than £1m, according to the Financial Times. Residents pay the most income tax in the UK, and it is home to Chelsea FC’s training ground in Cobham. Average incomes were twice the UK average in 2012/13.

The foodbank is based at Esher Green Baptist Church in Park Road. It was established in 2012 to help local people, and is part of a national network.

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