Chichester food banks under pressure as demand rises

Deputy project manager Rich Lush
Deputy project manager Rich Lush

Rising demand and few donations are putting pressure on vital services in Chichester.

Chichester's foodbank told of the need for more donations at a time that demand keeps improving.

Deputy project manager Rich Lush spoke about the failings of Universal Credit being a major contributing factor to the rise in demand.

Rich said the number of people using the food bank has increased 22 per cent from last year.

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"There are a few different factors," he said, "Universal Credit has had a big impact because of the five week wait. Five weeks to get your first payment and until you have you can get a loan but often the loan would leave people out of pocket and you are creating a loan culture for people who are already in need.

"It's not the big enemy it just needs the government to recognise it has got problems."

The food bank has also described the urgent need for more donations during the summer months.

Urgently needed food items include tinned potatoes, pasta sauce, jam/spreads, tinned fruit, sponge puddings, fruit juice (not squash), tinned meat and teabags.

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Rich added: "At Christmas we are humongously blessed with donations, but in the summer people go away and they go on holiday but the summer is the time that we need the most food.

"The need is often greater and it's when we have the least food.

"There are people who are coming in and it's just an added bonus to get them through the summer. There's a real need for this and Chichester has a very hidden poverty problem that we don't realise because everything is so expensive. Living is expensive. Most people are one paycheck away from being kicked out their houses if they are paying rent.

"The average rent in Chichester is ridiculous so when you add all that in. All of that plays into it as well."

While the branch is looking for more donations during the summer, Rich expressed his gratitude for the support from volunteers and other charities.

"Here we have an amazing team of volunteers who are absolutely fantastic and they will make people feel very welcome," he said.

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Anyone wishing to donate food to the trust can do so at these locations:

• St John’s Hall, St John’s Street, Chichester, PO19 1UR

• County Hall, West Street, Chichester, PO19 1RQ

• Co-op locals (Stockbridge Road, Spitifield Road, Tangmere, Bognor Road, Petworth and Parklands)

• Waitrose, Via Ravenna, Chichester, PO19 1RD

• Chichester Cathedral – collection basket at back of Cathedral

• Tesco Extra, Rd E, Chichester, PO19 3JT

• Sainsbury’s, Westhampnett Road, Chichester, PO19 7YR