Food network

Brighton councilor reopens food bank from her own home

A counselor expressed her sadness at the prospect of reopening a food bank in her home due to growing demand due to the cost of living crisis.

Bridget Fishleigh, the city’s only elected independent councillor, first opened the food bank from her home office during the pandemic to help families in her coastal neighborhood of Rottingdean.

However, she is now relaunching it after requests from a local school and the council as residents grapple with the cost of living crisis.

She said: “I am really sad to reopen the food bank for people who live in Saltdean, Rottingdean and Ovingdean.

“One of the primary schools in the area told me that the children were arriving hungry and that the parents could not afford to feed them.”

Cllr Fisleigh said the area was underserved by food banks, with people forced to travel closer to the town center for help.

“Rottingdean, Saltdean and Ovingdean are not served by any of the central food banks, so people who don’t have enough money can’t afford to spend £5 on a bus to get to a food bank in the city “, she said.

Charities including Rottingdean and Saltdean Lions and the Saltdean Community Association have contributed to the food bank to help buy initial supplies to support residents.

Recent findings from the city’s emergency food network found that more than 5,000 people in the city turned to the network each week over the past year, with more than 3,000 people returning regularly.

However, food banks also reported a drop of more than two-thirds in cash and food donations over the same period.

Helen Starr-Keddle of the Brighton and Hove Food Partnership, which brings together the Emergency Food Network, said: ‘Besieged community projects run on donations and run by volunteers are left to pick up the pieces of government failures.

“Day after day, they support people of all ages and backgrounds at risk of malnutrition, homelessness, low education, and mental and physical health challenges.

“The cost of prevention is less than the cost of consequences.”