UPDATE: More than half a tonne of food was donated for the Big Winter Food Collection.

Gavin Perry from the Swindon People's Assembly said: "It was a staggering success, we have deep gratitude for the generosity of Swindonians who made this event the lifeline and success that it has become.

Cher Smith MBE, manager of the Swindon Foodbank, said: "A huge thank you from Swindon Foodbank for the 535 kilos of donated food that we received today from Swindon Peoples Assembly Big Winter Foodbank Collection.

Swindon people are absolutely amazing!"

Original story below:

GENEROUS citizens donated dozens of meals and tins of food to a big collection for foodbanks on Tuesday.

Food was dropped off at Baristocrat’s Cafe, the Castle Pub and the Adver offices in the week before the main event at Wharf Green.

It will now be sent to the Swindon Foodbank store at the Bible Society in West Swindon.

The Swindon People’s Assembly organised the collection to help the homeless and others who are struggling to get by.

The big collection was held on the same day as similar collections by other People’s Assemblies across the country to highlight what they see as problems with the Universal Credit system.

Organisers were very grateful for the donations.

Tony Hillier said: “Once again, Swindon people are stepping forward with tins of food for people in need.

“The Swindon People’s Assembly is also drawing attention to the benefit gaps that are occurring for some people in the uncoordinated roll-out of the new Universal Credit.

“We hope the town’s two MPs are listening and will act accordingly.

“A massive thank you to the agencies that have acted as drop-off points and to everyone who donated.

“No one needs go hungry in Swindon this winter.”

Christine Smith has struggled on the Universal Credit system ever since an accident left her wheelchair-bound and unable to work.

She said: “I had to wait 10 weeks before the first payment came in, I’m totally reliant on my friends to help me, it’s been pretty tough.”

Mike Boon from the People’s Assembly said: “There’s been a fantastic response today, people have been going into shops and coming back with bags of food they bought just to give to us.

“I didn’t expect to receive this many contributions, I’m very surprised and very thankful.”

Chancellor Philip Hammond announced a £1.5 billion package to “address concerns” about the delivery of Universal Credit in his Budget yesterday.

Activist Gavin Perry said: “There’s been a very good response considering that people are getting ready for Christmas and everyone’s had their belts tightened.

“We demand an end to austerity and the cancellation of Universal Credit, and demand that the government responsible for this misery step down.