Pandemic sees rise of self-employed in Sussex using food banks

  • Report from ITV News Meridian's Andy Dickenson

Food banks across the Meridian region say they're being overwhelmed as a huge increase in people who have jobs are now having to use their services.

Among those most affected are the self-employed who are struggling to pay bills during the pandemic and are now facing significant financial problems.

As more food banks open and donations increase, organisers fear the full economic impact of this crisis is still to come.

Hastings Food bank fed more than 500 separate households in just the last month Credit: ITV News Meridian

David Ward has been a taxi driver for 20 years but during the pandemic his fares have dropped by more than 80%.

To supplement his income he's taken up photography, his work winning a competition and adorning the walls of a pub but it's not enough. He's now been forced to use a food bank at a nearby church.

  • David Ward says he's had to use all of his savings to stay afloat

"I've had to use all of my savings and inside you feel like you're sinking. Am I that person that the food bank is there for? I though yes. I've invested I've not had an income I need a little bit of support and help" he says.

Thankfully as the demand has increased, so have donations and volunteers offering to help, food bank operators say.

While David is left wondering if he may have to sell his taxi - as well as his photographs - to survive.