Bid to set up vital Burgess Hill food bank

JPMT - Father Kevin O'Brien at St John's Church in Burgess Hill where they have a drop in cafe for people with mental health issues and other members of the public
JPMT - Father Kevin O'Brien at St John's Church in Burgess Hill where they have a drop in cafe for people with mental health issues and other members of the public

Churches and community groups are joining forces to start a much-needed food bank in Burgess Hill.

The food will be distributed twice a week from St John’s Church café, which is now known as ‘The Spire’.

The vicar of St John’s, Father Kevin O’Brien, who is co-ordinating the project, said: “Frankly, as a society we should be ashamed that so many people are vulnerable and that food banks are necessary, but tragically they are.”

The food bank adds to a range of services now available at The Spire. These include a mental health drop-in service arranged through Sussex Oakleaf and a debt and benefits advice service provided by the charity Macs and the West Sussex Credit Union.

Father Kevin said: “The ethos of this food bank is very much community based; no one church or organisation is in control, instead a number of churches, and organisations such as the British Legion, the Lions and local individuals are coming together to meet a local need.

“We are delighted that Waitrose and the Co-op have also voiced their support – both of whom are well known for their ethical stances.”

An open meeting is to be held at St John’s Church on March 13 at 7.30pm for anyone who would like to know more and perhaps to become involved.

There will be a short presentation of how the food bank will work, with organisers aiming for an April or May opening.

The initiative has received a generous grant from West Sussex County Council.