OBSERVER CHRISTMAS APPEAL: Government report praises foodbank work

Andrew Poulsom and Andrea Birch stacking up the car for a delivery. Picture by Kate Shemilt.C141074-1 SUS-140212-090017001
Andrew Poulsom and Andrea Birch stacking up the car for a delivery. Picture by Kate Shemilt.C141074-1 SUS-140212-090017001

‘HUNGER in Britain’ has dominated the national headlines in recent times.

Just a week after the Observer launched its appeal to encourage people to give something to the foodbank this Christmas, an all-party government inquiry published a report on December 4 in response to the rise in need for foodbanks.

The need for foodbanks in the Chichester area has seen the Chichester Foodbank open satellite offices in Selsey, Midhurst and a mobile service in Petworth.

In addition, the Bognor Regis foodbank moved into new premises in Argyle Road this year.

In the 2013/14 financial year 913,138 people were given three days worth of food by foodbanks across the country.

This was more than double the previous year of 346,992 and more than 20 times the use of 2009/10, when they were used by 40,898 people.

All the foodbanks are run by the Trussel Trust.

The trust’s chairman Chris Mould hailed the ‘landmark’ government document, which aims to reduce food poverty by 2020.

He said: “This powerful cross-party document validates 
what the voluntary sector has been saying for a long time about the distressing reality of hunger in the UK, 
and it turns the spotlight on the specific problems that need addressing.”

The inquiry had praised the kindness of communities in helping their neighbours – something the Observer would like to encourage – while government seeks to address fundamental problems leading to hunger in Britain.

Mr Mould continued: “In our experience, the sustained and positive response of local communities to the foodbank movement’s call to action has been remarkable and is immensely heartening.

“Quoting the inquiry again: ‘It is at this local level that we have experienced the most crucial aspect of a vibrant voluntary movement; the free giving of care and affection to fellow citizens who find themselves in the most difficult and demanding circumstances. If there were a medal for exercising human compassion we would seek that it be awarded collectively to the volunteers of the food bank movement.’”

Next week, the Observer will focus its attention on those very volunteers who work to keep the foodbanks going and help their neighbours.

With so many other financial commitments at Christmas, foodbanks often see an upsurge in demand at this time of year and anything someone is able to donate is always very gratefully received. See the panels to see how to make donations.

Foodbanks in the area

CHICHESTER and BOGNOR REGIS both have foodbanks, with the Chichester branch now also having satellite offices in Selsey, Midhurst and Petworth.

The Chichester Foodbank is found at the Chichester Family Church, 21 Orchard Street, PO19 1DD.

It is open from 2pm-4pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The Bognor Foodbank is found at Argyle Hall, Argyle Road, PO21 1DY

It is open from 11am-4pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

The Selsey satellite is open from 4pm-6pm on Friday and is in the Selsey Methodist Church, High Street, PO20 0QJ.

The Petworth satellite office is mobile and food is brought straight to those in need.

Call 07501 921617 between 9am-5pm on weekdays.

The Midhurst satellite office is in St Anne’s Hall, St Anne’s Hill, GU29 9NN.

It is open from 3pm-5pm on Fridays.

For more information, visit http://chichesterdistrict.foodbank.org.uk or http://bognorregis.foodbank.org.uk.

Alternatively, call 01243 773687 for the Chichester office and 01243 866952 for the Bognor office.

Where to drop off food

SEVERAL collection points exist at supermarkets and churches, with lists available giving people pointers over some of the best things to buy.

Canned goods are helpful as they last for longer, along with other items with distant use-by dates. The foodbank provides a list of ideal shopping items:

- Milk (UHT or powdered)

- Sugar (500g)

- Carton of fruit juice

- Soup

- Pasta sauces

- Sponge pudding (tinned)

- Tomatoes (tinned)

- Cereals

- Rice pudding (tinned)

- Tea bags

- Instant coffee

- Instant mash potato

- Rice

- Pasta

- Meat (tinned)

- Fish (tinned)

- Vegetables (tinned)

- Fruit (tinned)

- Jam

- Biscuits and snack bars

There are collection points in Waitrose, in Chichester, and Co-op stores, as well as by the main entrance to Chichester Cathedral.

In Bognor Regis, both the Sainsbury’s and Tesco in Shripney Road have collection points, as well as the Morrisons store in the town centre and Co-op stores in Hawthorn Road, Rose Green Road and Nyetimeber Lane, plus the Co-op in Yapton.

If you can, spend an extra few pounds and make a donation. You never know when you might need the same kindness yourself.