A FUNDRAISING campaign has been launched to ensure people do not go hungry this winter amid the ongoing challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Brighton and Hove Food Partnership (BHFP) has created a new crowdfunding campaign to help prevent anyone from going #HungryatChristmas.

BHFP raised more than £50,000 through its #HungryatHome campaign earlier this year, which allowed the charity to provide emergency food provisions to thousands of residents after coronavirus hit.

At the height of the first lockdown, more than 40 organisations across the city were giving out 3,001 emergency food parcels and 3,966 meals in one week and the charity said food banks are seeing another surge in demand.

Development officer Helen Starr-Keddle said: “Food banks were already in crisis before the pandemic. We always struggle in winter as suddenly heating bills go up, but obviously now we have additional issues with Covid-19.

The Argus: Volunteers preparing hot lunches at Lunch Positive, a lunch club and supportive space for people living with HIV in BrightonVolunteers preparing hot lunches at Lunch Positive, a lunch club and supportive space for people living with HIV in Brighton

“It might just be people having to stay at home, but then there’s job losses and some people on furlough who can’t pay their bills. Everyone on a low income is struggling.”

BHFP is also working with Brighton and Hove City Council to tackle food poverty.

Helen said: “The council has set up an emergency helpline for people to get vouchers and financial help before a referral to food banks, which is a good way to do it.

“We’re sourcing surplus food and providing emergency parcels. Last week we had a single mum who was isolating with three children and she had completely run out of money for food.

“A survey we did found families on low incomes are trying to get by on £8.53 per person, per week, and 78 per cent of those in need of emergency food have a disability or long-term health condition.

“With our new campaign we’re just hoping people who are able to will be generous, as a lot of their neighbours are really struggling right now.”

Funds raised by BHFP will be distributed between 17 community organisations working to provide hot and cold food throughout the winter months across the city.

The Argus: Essam Yakoub, a chef at the Vale Community Centre food bank in BrightonEssam Yakoub, a chef at the Vale Community Centre food bank in Brighton

These include the Real Junk Food Project in Gardner Street, Brighton, Food and Friendship in Hove and the Brighton Women’s Centre.

Alan Cooke, who volunteers at Craven Vale Community Centre Food Bank in Hadlow Close, Brighton, said: “During the first wave, demand was up by six to eight times what we were handing out in February.

“We are still having to source food for a quadrupling of demand. We are yet to see what happens when more and more people are made redundant.

“It would be so nice to be able to give families some little ‘extras’ for Christmas.”

Councillor Kate Knight is helping to run a food membership scheme called Moulsecoomb Community Market from St George’s Hall in Newick Road. Members pay £3.50 and receive

She said: “Every week we are getting new families join our scheme, as well as increasing numbers of young single people, whose employment has simply disappeared.

“With winter coming and the additional pressure of keeping warm, we are more concerned than ever that people have access to nutritious, healthy food.”

To donate to the BHFP campaign, visit crowdfunder.co.uk/hungry-at-christmas.

If you are struggling to access food, Brighton and Hove City council’s helpline number is 01273 293 117.