Duchess of Cornwall visits foodbank and homelessness charity in East Sussex

The Duchess of Cornwall visited a food bank and a drop-in centre for the homeless in East Sussex on Tuesday to find out how the organisations have supported vulnerable people during the pandemic.

Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 11:42 am
The Duchess of Cornwall at the the foodbank

Her Royal Highness went to Lewes to meet trustees and volunteers from Fitzjohns Food Bank, one of three independent food banks serving the local area, and Lewes Open Door, a small local charity in Lewes offering support to the homeless and vulnerable, at their base in Christ Church.

She saw bags of food being packed for delivery by Fitzjohn’s volunteer drivers, donations from local organisations including hand sanitiser made by Brighton Gin, specially supplied face masks and the food bank store room.

Roz Bassford, Chair of Fitzjohns Food Bank, said: “We were very pleased to welcome Her Royal Highness and talk about how we’ve kept our service going during uncertain times and how much this has been helped by the amazing community support we’ve received.

The Duchess of Cornwall at Lewes Open Door

“She was impressed to discover that thanks to the regular Lewes food collections, we’ve not bought a tin of baked beans for over a year!”

The Duchess of Cornwall also met Tracy Cheeseman, a volunteer and user of the food bank who is also one of the Lewes Mayor’s Covid Heroes.

Tracy said: “Right now, our clients rely on us more than ever and we put a lot of thought into the food that we offer them.

“I showed The Duchess how we put our bags together and we talked about the importance of quality and meeting individual needs.

“I know that access to a food bank can make all the difference in difficult times and I was very pleased to have the chance to share my experience with Her Royal Highness.”

The Duchess of Cornwall was then introduced to representatives from Lewes Open Door, who showed her the dining room being prepared in readiness for the daily lunch that they serve their drop-in clients.

She also visited the kitchen where volunteers were cooking the meal.

Belinda Crawford, trustee and Lewes Open Door volunteer, said: “We were very pleased to be able to talk to Her Royal Highness about our work supporting the homeless and vulnerable.

“She was interested to hear about the degree of need that is in what appears to be a relatively prosperous town.”

When Neil Fisher, Secretary of Christ Church, thanked her for her visit, the Duchess – who grew up in nearby Plumpton – said: “It is always a treat to come back to Sussex.”