A Horsham charity was in Billingshurst last week opening its fifth foodbank as part of the growing need to help people who cannot afford to feed themselves.
Building on the work of long established food parcel schemes such as those run by the Salvation Army and more recently the ARK Horsham homelessness charity, Horsham Matters has set up the Horsham District Foodbank.
In January the charity opened its first two outlets in Horsham followed by ones in Storrington and Henfield.
The fifth one launched at the United Reformed Church in Billingshurst on Friday (May 16).
The charity said it has fed more than 200 people since starting in January and a quarter of those were children.
Horsham Matters community support co-ordinator Ruth Hodgson said: “Our research (Neighbourhood Statistics, ONS) has shown that 50 per cent more of the children in Billingshurst live in workless families than on average in Horsham district, so we think that there is likely to be a need for a foodbank outlet in the village.
“Added to this we recognise that it would be completely unreasonable to expect families who are already struggling to buy food, to pay to travel into Horsham to get to a foodbank.
“One of our goals has always been to provide outlets in villages across the district so we are really pleased to be working with the local churches and in particular Billingshurst Family Church to provide an outlet in the United Reformed Church in Billingshurst.”
She said people were not scrounging by coming to a foodbank.
She added: “It’s through no fault of their own, their benefits have been delayed. We see people who have had an unexpected bill and cannot feed the children.
“It’s the working poor - people who are on low income jobs. They stretch their money as far as it can go, but there’s no more.”
Where to find a food bank in Horsham and the South Downs
- ARK Horsham, United Reformed Church, Springfield Road: Food parcels are given out on Tuesdays at 6.30pm.
The ARK is also open Mondays 9am to 3pm, Tuesdays 2pm to 8pm and Thursdays 10am to 4pm for support and a hot meal.
- Horsham Matters Foodbank, Horsham Christian Life Centre, East Street, Wednesdays, 4pm to 6pm (voucher only)
- Salvation Army Horsham Corps - Hope-In, Booth Way, Thursdays, from 6.30pm
- Horsham Matters Foodbank, Quaker Meeting House, Worthing Road, Fridays, 1pm to 3pm (voucher only)
- Horsham Matters Foodbank at Henfield Evangelical Free Church, High Street, Fridays 10am to 11.30am (voucher only)
- Horsham Matters Foodbank, Little Footsteps Children & Family Centre (Spurgeons), West Street, Thursdays, 10am to 12noon (voucher only)
- Horsham Matters Foodbank, Trinity United Reformed Church, High Street, Fridays 10am to 12noon (voucher only)
To read a full investigation piece on foodbanks in the Horsham district, including views from people who use them, buy a copy of this week’s County Times.