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Foodbanks extended across Sussex as demand soars
Foodbanks are being extended across Sussex because of a rise in demand.
Charities which provide food parcels and supplies to people in need say the financial crisis and changes to the benefits system has led to more people coming forward for help.
Eight banks, including ones in Haywards Heath, Worthing, and Eastbourne, are run by the Christian charity The Trussell Trust, but other organisations around the county also provide a similar service.
The trust is now aiming to set up another four banks to cope with the rise in demand, including ones in Hailsham, Chichester and East Grinstead.
It says it distributed more than 3,400 food parcels to people in the county during the last financial year.
However, since April it has already handed over about 3,000 and the calls for support are rising.
The Brighton-based charity FareShare delivers food supplies to 48 charities across Brighton and Hove and Worthing.
This includes soup kitchens, unemployed centres, and day centres.
Project manager Nathan Au said that in a recent survey 55% of the charities they helped had noticed a rise in the number of people coming forward looking for help with food supplies.
He said: “It is quite a dramatic increase from the 30% that said there was a year before.
“I think inflation is making a dent, especially when you are on a low income.
“Businesses are struggling and people are being made redundant. Getting a job is not easy.
“Fuel prices are going up, rent is going up and food is going up.
“Something is going to give and sometimes food is easier to cut back on.
“What he have noticed is that five years ago we were mainly dealing with charities who helped people who were homeless, in temporary housing or were vulnerable and needed shelter.
“Now we are noticing that more people who are on benefits or on a minimum wage and affected by changes to tax credits are coming forward and asking for help as well.
“With more changes to housing benefits expected in April, I think the demand is only going to continue to rise.”
People using the service say they have been forced to do so because they have either been made redundant or have lost their job through illness and injury and cannot get the benefits they need.
Others are single parents who work part-time because of childcare arrangements but this is not enough to cover their bills.
For more details about foodbanks in your area, visit www.trusselltrust.org or call 01722 580180.