Bexhill Foodbank marked its second anniversary this month and has rapidly expanded to meet local need.
Started in a small storeroom at Sackville Methodist Church it has already moved to larger premises in Station Road.
But probably its most significant development has been the opening up of two satellite distribution centre in Battle and recently in Rye to coincide with the anniversary.
These two new branches come as a result of the demand to distribute food to the wider Rother area, a commitment that was undertaken being linked to funding from East Sussex County Council and Rother District Council.
Simon Earl, Bexhill Foodbank Manager, said: “2014 has seen an increase in the number of people accessing our services. As we move towards Christmas and the colder winter months we anticipate greater demand. It is certainly going to be interesting to see what impact the two satellite centres have on addressing the needs of those in crisis outside Bexhill. Compared with the first six months of 2013 we have seen an increase of 20 per cent in the first six months of this year. “This increase is largely due to the effects of the government’s policy on the changes to welfare benefit payments, especially the length of time benefit changes take to be actioned. However the increase in donation has not been so significant, which has meant that in several months during the last year we have been giving out more food than has been donated.
“To fill this gap we have used up some of the stock which was built up in our early days, but we do from time to time have to buy food.”
For those who don’t know how the Foodbank works, food that is donated by the public is given out to those who live in the local area who find themselves in a temporary crisis. The package of food the clients receive has three balanced meals for three days within it; the amount of food given out varies with the number of people in the family unit.
“I would also like to thank all those who have over the last year donated food through our many drop bins which are spread across the churches and shops of Bexhill especially. We would also like to thank all those who donated food at our two day collection at Tesco Ravenside Store... We collected 1908kg in total. We are once again indebted to the staff of the store for their help with this major collection. We are grateful to the ever increasing number of agencies which hold the ‘red vouchers’ that the clients need to enable them to pick up their food.”
For further details about the work of the Bexhill Foodbank please take a look at the website: www.bexhill.foodbank.org.uk.