Neighbourhood partners have come together to fight hunger and poverty in Mid Sussex. This partnership has culminated in the establishment of food banks that aid residents with donations that offset recent financial challenges that they face.
A large number of community organisations, schools and churches issue vouchers that are redeemable for donated food items. These parcels are available for pick up at the closest food bank serving that community.
The Burgess Hill Community Food Bank operates from The Spire Cafe at St. John’s Church. This location redeems vouchers for bags of products that feed a family for about three days.
Residents who are in need may first meet with one of the community partners:
- Burgess Hill Citizens Advice Bureau
- Children and Family Centres (The Gattons, Sidney West, Sussex Downs)
- Jobcentre Plus
- King’s Church Debt Advice Centre
- Mid Sussex District Council (Housing Needs Department)
- Mid Sussex Health and Social Care
- Sussex Police
- There are also several community organisations that provide referrals.
Pickups are available a couple of times each week. Changes in demand or staffing could result in changes to the hours of this centre. St John’s Church is located on Lower Church Road in Burgess Hill. Anyone with a voucher or with questions about the distribution may email Burgess Hill Community Food Bank at [email protected] Volunteers are not currently able to handle a large volume of telephone calls.
Haywards Heath Foodbank is a Trussell Trust partner site. It follows the national model, utilising support from area churches and charitable organisations to both raise awareness about hunger and to encourage donations by neighbours and businesses.
This aid centre conducts donation drives to boost supplies so that more residents may be helped. One of the big events run by volunteers is the Harvest Festival. About 1,000 kilogrammes of donated food items creates a massive amount of inventory that can be drawn from in future months. Donation bins are also strategically placed at public locations to encourage regular giving by citizens that choose to participate.
Supermarkets help by encouraging donations from shoppers. Surplus food items are also donated by suppliers to further aid in the effort. Volunteers are quick to praise individual citizens for providing the bulk of donations.
Enquiries about a pickup may be made by calling 07884 106 719. Haywards Heath Foodbank is located on Sussex Road, which is where clients may redeem a voucher for a food parcel.
Another Trussell Trust site is the East Grinstead Foodbank. Hosted at the Jubilee Community Centre on Charlswood Road, this location regularly distributes hundreds of food parcels to individuals and families.
Benefit delays or changes to payments are often cited by clients who have been helped by this service. Staff also have helped many citizens who experienced a recent job loss and were unable to make ends meet while seeking a new job.
Neighbourhood partners can issue vouchers to clients who have been active in self-sufficiency and aid programmes. Vouchers are available through various housing associations and primary schools in East Grinstead. Other voucher issuers include CAB (East Grinstead Advice Centre), East Grinstead Children and Family Centres and West Sussex County Council (Adult and Children’s Services). Church partners include Church of Our Lady & St Peter, Moat United Reformed Church, St Mary’s, Trinity Methodist and West Street Baptist.
Prior to pickup, clients may wish to call East Grinstead Foodbank at 07983 209940 to confirm operating hours. Information about additional community partners that can issue a voucher is also available by calling this telephone.
Christian Caring in Crisis provides support to Mid-Sussex as well. Anyone in need can get free food or a box of groceries, and they also serve many hot meals on Saturdays for people in an emergency. Ring 01293 657140 for information, or find support from Christian Caring.
Shoreham Baptist Church has a food bank on site. The charity is part of the nationwide Trussell Trust network. For those families in Sussex with a voucher, they can be given a free parcel of food from the church. It may have fresh, perishable items or tinned groceries as well. More on programmes from Shoreham Baptist Church.
Vouchers from Local Assistance Network are also provided. This is the local district’s form of welfare, and the council partners with many organisations in an effort to help the vulnerable and low income. A focus of the scheme is to provide food, clothing, and items such as milk and nappies for babies to households in poverty. Local Mid Sussex food banks are also part of this programme, and find details on Local Assistance Network in West Sussex.