Adur and Worthing Community Food Network hosts volunteer celebration

Volunteers who provide food support for the community in Adur and Worthing have gathered for a celebration and to reflect on the positive impact of their work to help their neighbours through the pandemic. Organised by Adur and Worthing Community Food Network, the event brought together 51 volunteers from ten community food groups across Adur and Worthing.

By Elaine Hammond
Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 4:10 pm

Worthing toastmaster Bob Smytherman hosted the volunteer celebration event, which included a pub quiz and music from Sam Flynn and Maria Henderson at Rooms Worthing, in the Guildbourne Centre. Paul Moore from Fishersgate Food Bank said: “It’s been amazing to be in a room together, meeting other volunteers doing similar things and celebrating their fantastic work.”

The community stepped up at the start of the pandemic to offer food support to neighbours who would otherwise go hungry. Hundreds of people have been packing, collecting, cooking, delivering, organising and sorting food every week to ensure individuals and families in need have some food in their cupboards. Groups attending the event included Adur Community Café CIC, Broadwater Support, Fishersgate Foodbank, Lancing and Sompting Foodbank, Shoreham & Adur Community Foodbank, Food Pioneers, Worthing Food Foundation, Worthing Foodbank, Worthing Soup Kitchen and Worthing Vegan Foodbank.

A moving memorial to the late Paul Eustice, former chair of Worthing Food Foundation and a key figure in many grassroots organisations in Worthing, was shared by Khristina McCormack of Worthing Soup Kitchen.

Moving forwards, the local groups are calling for a right to food, universal free school meals and for local businesses and organisations to implement the real living Wage. Sarah Davenport, food partnership development co-ordinator, said: “While it’s so important to celebrate the work of our community volunteers, it is impossible to forget the number of people in Adur and Worthing who will go without food this evening.”

The groups have found with food poverty increasing, there is more need than ever for voluntary organisations to support their neighbours with food. The Community Food Network is calling on Adur and Worthing Councils to develop a Food Action Plan that addresses multiple elements. The network approached the councils in February to ask for continued support, while taking a holistic long-term approach to a community-led food plan.

Tina Favier, the councis’ interim director for communities, said: “I’ve been deeply impressed and thankful for the efforts and time given by so many volunteers for such a long time, who have helped local people in need to have access to food during such difficult times. This has been such a lifeline for the community. This event to say thank you is so important.”

Visit www.awfood.org.uk/community-food-network for more information. If you are interested in volunteering for a local food project, visit volunteer.bhcommunityworks.org.uk.

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