A NEW food bank has opened after the existing site struggled to cope with rising demand for its services.

The site opened on Friday in Hassocks offering food parcels to families in need.

The project aims to follow in the footsteps of the Burgess Hill food bank which opened three years ago.

Within six months of its launch, the service had seen more than 1,000 food parcels collected by families.

It has recently found it is oversubscribed and cannot meet the needs of people in the area.

Gary Pickett of Clayton Parish, who led the project for the new food bank, said he found “quite often the need has outweighed how much food we have to give”.

So he had the idea of starting a second site.

The Hassocks Community Food Bank will be in Powell House, Keymer Road, Hassocks and will use the rear entrance to the building.

A sign will be put in place to show people where to go and organisers said the site was open not just to people in Hassocks but also anyone from the wider Sussex area who may need it.

Volunteer Natalie Meehan, who has helped publicise the opening of the food bank, said: “It’s really shocking that the need for community food banks is so prevalent in somewhere as seemingly affluent as Sussex.

“The great news is that we’ve seen an amazing level of support from the local community.

“Our public meetings earlier this month saw nearly 70 people attend and sign up to support us in different ways, so we don’t need volunteers at this time.

“What we do need is to let everyone know this service exists and make sure that people who need to use it know that their community is here for them.

“This is a real example of community supporting community.

“We hope to help many people in the local area in the coming months.”

There will be several drop-off points in the area where residents can make donations of food and drink.

So far, drop-off points have been confirmed at the Waitrose store in Burgess Hill and Hassocks Junior School.

For anyone looking to use the service, Natalie advised them to visit Citizens Advice, the Housing Association, or any of the other food banks in the area to be assessed.

If the criteria is met, a voucher for three or four days food per person will be issued and people will be told how and when to visit the food bank.