Record-breaking collections for Lewes foodbanks ahead of £20 Universal Credit cut

An impressive 7,172 items were collected for the foodbanks of Lewes last weekend, smashing the previous record.

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 4:58 pm
South Street bonfire society food bank collecting before the rain started Credit Nigel French and Melanie Hobson

Collections took place outside the town’s Aldi, Tesco and Waitrose. Food and household goods were collected for the foodbanks of Lewes, Newhaven, Ringmer village and Seaford.

Organisers and volunteers remained undaunted throughout the day despite relentless rain which became torrential with gale force winds by the afternoon.

Saturday’s collectors included members of seven Lewes sports clubs, four live bands, three faith groups, three political parties, two bonfire societies, two choirs, one cinema, one health centre, one parents group, one cycle pick-up crew, one Rotary Club, one yoga group, one health centre and tens of individual volunteers. Each doing a single, one hour – and wet - shift on the collection.

Ringmer Guides make their wet debut on the collection Credit Nigel French and Melanie Hobson

It was the first time that 1st Ringmer Guides took part in the collection.

Amy Wilkins, their leader said: “we have received so many compliments about how wonderful it was to see Guides taking part, particularly with such friendly smiles on a very wet day.”

Mark Perryman, pioneer of this food bank collection, said: “It is a public and visual coalition against food poverty at the Saturday weekend shop, the point of consumption.”

The donations included 670 tins of soup, 454 boxes of cereal and a very early Christmas pudding.

Malling food bank receive and sort the first of their huge delivery of cereal Credit Nigel French and Melanie Hobson

Irene Gannon from Fitzjohn’s Foodbank in Lewes was impressed.

She said: “What an amazing job in truly awful conditions and to have involved so many people is a truly formidable achievement.

“Our share of the collection was really good and will help us over the next few weeks tremendously.”

The collection was given extra poignancy and urgency with the £20 weekly cut in Universal Credit.

Singing in the rain, Paddock Singers add their voices to the collection Photo credit Nigel French and Melanie Hobson

Stef Lake from Seahaven Community Food said: “We are extremely concerned about the pressure on our services this winter.

“The combination of food and fuel shortages, rising prices and the reduction in Universal Credit will leave many more households unable to cope.

“We worry that we simply won’t have enough food to help everyone who needs it.”