Friday, July 12, 2013
It is a depressing fact that the most read item on this blog over the last three months is one I posted in October 2012 about Foodbanks in East Sussex run by the Trussell Trust, a charity working to combat poverty and exclusion through the provision of emergency food to those in crisis. This is not surprising considering the drastic changes to the welfare state which took place in April this year. Reductions in housing benefit, council tax benefit and child tax credit, the abolition of crisis loans for general living expenses and changes to the disability living allowance have made the lives of many ordinary and vulnerable people living in East Sussex intolerable.
Back in October, I wrote that Foodbank had doubled the number of people it had helped during the previous year at its 250 centres across the country, and that existing Foodbanks in Eastbourne, Hastings and Hailsham had become an essential part of life for thousands. There are now 325 Foodbanks nationwide and the Trussell Trust look set to increase the numbers they help by 170% this year. Here in East Sussex, an additional Foodbank has opened in Bexhill and is soon to be joined by one in Uckfield.
Food is donated to Foodbanks by individuals, businesses and local organisations; professionals such as doctors, health visitors, social workers and Citizens’ Advice Bureau staff identify people who are not managing and issue them with a voucher that can be redeemed for three days emergency food. Mostly, Foodbanks are being used by the working poor, the unemployed and the elderly who need to bridge the gap until the next payday, benefit or pension payment, or keep away from the clutches of payday loan companies.
If you are in need of help or want to donate or volunteer, local Foodbanks can be found here or at the following four locations in East Sussex:
The Methodist Church
1 Cornfield Lane
Rear of Link Shop
1 George Street
The Hastings Centre