New food banks serves disabled in Lewes

Oyster project food bank. Ruth O'Keeffe and John Russell (right).
Oyster project food bank. Ruth O'Keeffe and John Russell (right).

A fourth food bank has been launched in Lewes.

It is being run by the Oyster Project, the member-led self-help charity for disabled people.

This additional food bank serves a specific need - the majority of people with disabilities are not eligible to access the referral schemes of more mainstream organisations.

Increasing pressure on public funding, benefit cuts and support reduction mean that many disabled people are facing real problems on a daily basis so the Oyster Project decided to start its own service.

Recipients of donated food and other items are asked to show three things. Firstly that they have a disability and secondly that they face financial hardship.

Finally they must demonstrate a willingness to volunteer for one hour a week to assist with one of the Project’s activities.

The new bank, at the historic Westgate Chapel, Lewes, was officially opened by the town’s Mayor, Cllr Ruth O’Keeffe, when she posted a donation of food in the collection box.

Goods can be donated at the High Street venue’s Chapel Cafe on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10.30am to 12.30pm, and also at the long-running and successful Oyster Community Cafe, which runs at the All Saints Centre in Friars Walk, on Wednesdays from 11.30am to 2pm.

The project hopes that recipients will not only gain food and toiletries but also be able to socialise, make new friends and take part in creative activities.

And to help in this, as well as their food parcels, each participant will also be given a voucher for a free lunch at the Oyster Community Cafe and a tea/coffee/cake voucher for the Chapel Cafe.

Applicants must register in advance for a food parcel, and these are delivered to the housebound. For further information call 01273 311417 or visit

Meanwhile, the Westgate Chapel will resound to beautiful music on the afternoon of June 21 when the second in a series of afternoon concerts staged by the Oyster Project and Nick Andrews takes place.

Nick Andrews and Friends is a small choir of accomplished singers in contrast to the April concert of the many-voiced Brighton Voices community choir which performed at the first concert of the series.

Featuring well known choral pieces, the hour-long concert will start at 3pm.

Doors are open from 2pm and the Chapel Cafe will be serving tea and coffee and its famous scones, cream and jam before and after the concert.