This week is a financial campaign for FareShare Sussex that is a charity that is based in Brighton but which covers the whole of Sussex and also many parts of Surrey. FareShare is an organisation that I helped to set up following suggestions from several groups that included a significant company that provides food shops across the UK. They had food available for poor people but they needed an agency to transfer the food to charities that can support the people directly. After several years of research, the FareShare in Sussex was established in 2002 with support that included from the London FareShare which was the first setting to be formed in the UK. FareShare Sussex has expanded since then very significantly and as many of us are aware, the need for food for many people in most of our communities has become much more significant in the last few years. A few years after the charity was established, I was privileged to meet Caroline Lucas who visited the premises and also a meeting from senior Council leaders from East Sussex when we were extending into their area. I am sure that since then there have been many other visitors to the FareShare. However sadly there have not been any statements made in Parliament about FareShare by any of the Sussex MPs so far although there are many other MPs who speak about their local FareShare Charity. The Sussex FareShare website explains that
They provide food to over 160 charities and community groups that deliver services in addition to meals, such as advice and guidance, health support, counselling and befriending, to help break the cycle of poverty and use food as a vehicle for good above and beyond alleviating hunger.
Back in June in Parliament a Scottish MP, Chris Stephens stated
Almost 343,000 meals were redistributed in Glasgow South West thanks to FareShare and other charitable organisations, yet FareShare says that its Government funding has been cut.
The DEFRA Minister at that time was George Eustice and he responded with
We did increase the funding for FareShare temporarily during the coronavirus pandemic, and we continue to support it, but obviously I will look into the specific case he raises.
So perhaps our local MPs and indeed the Surrey MPs could consider raising the same theme this week while FareShare is seeking to raise funds locally. Their campaign is set out as
From 29th November – 6th December we are aiming to raise £7,000. Which will be match funded up to £14,000 – helping us to provide more than 60,000 meals for people across Sussex and Surrey.
And they go on to explain that
1 in 4 families with children are now in food poverty due to the increased cost of food, energy and fuel. This includes more than 4 million children. The organisations we deliver to are seeing an increase in demand. With a shocking surge of those who are fully employed. We are stretching our resources to ensure we can provide food and support for our communities.
It was very encouraging that a few weeks ago Sussex Police published that they had had visited the Sussex FareShare recently. I recall that when the charity was first being set up that some of the people who were training as Police Officers spent some time within FareShare to help it to operate and it gave them the opportunity to visit a number of the charities that FareShare was supplying. The text from the Police earlier this month included the following
Two Brighton Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) visited local charity FareShare Sussex on Monday, November 7 with a cheque for £2,000 to be put towards their continuing effort to ensure more people eat during these difficult times. FareShare Sussex began life in 2002 as a community project. Since then, it has grown exponentially and in 2021 they delivered 1,500 tonnes of food to our communities, feeding 21,500 people. Every year, the UK food industry wastes 3.6 million tonnes of food, according to climate change website WRAP. FareShare’s mission is to ensure that no food is wasted in Surrey and Sussex.
I recall how in our first year that we delivered 30 tonnes of food so there has been a very significant increase in the last 20 years. One of the group of charities that FareShare connects with is foodbanks that are based throughout Sussex. Indeed on Friday I had the privilege of attending a presentation by the Uckfield Foodbank in my company. The leader of their charity, Lorraine has had connections with FareShare for a number of years. She explained that their food requirements this year and particularly in the next few weeks is very significant and indeed there has been a massive increase since their charity first started in 2013.