Help if you are struggling to afford food

If you are finding you can't afford food there is a range of support available through local authority and community services.

The two sections at the end of this page give details of food banks and related groups and services in Lewes district and Eastbourne.

If you are looking for low-cost and healthy recipes, the BBC website has lots of ideas for individuals, families and different diets: - low-cost recipes

Food vouchers 

If you are struggling to afford food local agencies can issue you with a food voucher to use at some food banks. The same local agencies can work with you to provide support to help address some of the issues behind the reasons for your crisis. 

Once you have been issued with a voucher, you can exchange this for a minimum of three days of emergency food at your nearest food bank.

Food banks

If you are struggling to afford food, food banks could help. You will usually need a food bank voucher referral to use one. 

Contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) who will able to speak to you about your financial circumstances and can refer you to a food bank. 

If for any reason you can’t be supported by your local CAB, then Community hubs, voluntary and community sector organisations and local authorities can also refer people to food banks.

Free school meals 

Your child may be able to get free school meals if you get any of the following:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit - if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)

Children who get paid these benefits directly, instead of through a parent or guardian, can also get free school meals.

Your child may also get free school meals if you get any of these benefits and your child is both:

  • younger than the compulsory age for starting school
  • in full-time education

To find out more about free school meals in East Sussex visit - free school meals 

Discretionary East Sussex Support Scheme (DESSS)

The Discretionary East Sussex Support Scheme (DESSS) provides emergency help in certain situations. It does not provide cash or loans but may provide the food or utilities that you need. Your household will usually only be able to receive support from the scheme once in 12 months. 

For more information and to apply visit - Discretionary East Sussex Support Scheme 

Fareshare Sussex

Fareshare Sussex redistributes food industry surplus which would otherwise be wasted, to the people that need it most.

They provide food to charities and 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. 

For more information visit their website 

Food banks in Lewes district

If you in in Lewes district you can find your nearest foodbank by visiting - food banks 

Lewes District Food Partnership

A new district-wide initiative all about food is getting off the ground and it’s looking for members of the community to get involved. The overall aim of the work, which has been commissioned by East Sussex County Council (Public Health) and is being hosted by SCDA, is to set up a cross-sector food partnership that will work together to improve local food security.

To find out more visit their website - Lewes District Food Partnership

Accessing emergency food and financial support leaflet

Eastbourne Food Partnership

Eastbourne Food Partnership aims to create a more resilient and sustainable local food system, helping to strengthen the local food economy, reduce waste and make fresh healthy food accessible to all. Following the examples and principles of the ‘sustainable food cities’ model, it is working to develop a network of collaboration between community groups, food producers, key decision makers and consumers. 

For more information visit their Facebook page: 

Eastbourne food bank 

Eastbourne Foodbank provides three days worth of nutritional food in exchange for a food voucher. They also provide advocacy and advice, toiletries, nappies, shows, bedding baby equipment, crockery and cutlery. 

They have locations across Eastbourne – to find your nearest location visit

Salvation Army 

The Salvation Army provides friendship, help and practical support to those in need in the community:

Matthew 25 Mission

The Matthew 25 Mission, Brodie Hall, Christ Church, Seaside, provide practical assistance and support for anyone in need.  Volunteers at the Mission aim to support people trying to rebuild broken lives, especially those with life-threatening addictions, loneliness, bereavement, unemployed, homelessness, offending issues, and other challenges.  

Community fridges and pantries 

Community fridges, larders and pantries redistribute surplus or donated food, providing an important function in reducing food waste and improving access to food in the community.  

In Eastbourne there are currently two community fridge/pantries: 

  • Langney Community Centre, Etchingham Road, Eastbourne. Telephone: 01323 763762. Community Fridge and Larder - Tuesday and Wednesday, 10-1 £2 for up to 10 items, everyone is welcome to become a member, one visit per household.
  • Seaside Community Hub, 125 Seaside Road, Eastbourne. Telephone: 01323 371322. Community Fridge and Larder. Wednesday and Friday, 10- £2 per visit for up to 10 items, everyone is welcome to become a member.

Warming up the Homeless 

For homeless emergencies, and to report a homeless person you are concerned about, you can call their helpline 07367 060708. Warming up the Homeless provides outreach in Eastbourne on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 7.30pm opposite The Grand Hotel, King Edward’s Parade.


Feedbourners is a self-funding community group of like-minded people who get together to provide a home cooked hot meal and a breakfast pack to the homeless community in Eastbourne. They also provide small provisions of toiletries, underwear, hats, gloves, socks, sleeping bags when possible.

Feedbourners meet 7.30pm every Wednesday outside Cafe Republic in Terminus Road, Eastbourne until food runs out, usually around 8pm. Please contact via the Feedbourners Facebook page.

Eastbourne Sunday Soup Kitchen 

Delivers soup and hot drinks to the street community in Eastbourne Town Centre. It takes place every alternate Sunday between 1pm - 2pm starting  from the 12th December through to March 2022.  Contact Andy Holter Mobile 07710 480512,  Email