Brighton foodbank offers financial advice and counselling to help users out of poverty

  • Video report by Andy Dickenson

Foodbanks in Brighton are beginning to diversify their services, offering not just food but counselling and routes to more financial help.

The innovative programme is being spearheaded by one of the city's churches.

Emmanuel Church in Hove even has financial experts coming in, to offer financial advice to clients in the foodbank's storeroom.

This church is fast becoming a one-stop shop to not only helping people in poverty, but helping them out of it.

People will be offered help with finances as well as counselling

"We realised that food insecurity is not the bottom rung of the ladder at all, Matt Davis, from Clarendon Villas Foodbank said.

"It's things like family breakdown, mental health, financial challenges.

"These are the 'more than food' if you like aspects that we want to try to help people with."

Demand at Emmanuel Church has tripled since the pandemic, with three sites now serving more than 75 families a week.

Emmanuel Church in Hove has seen demand triple since the pandemic

"People have come because of a food crisis, but then you realise there's a food crisis for a reason," Steve Horne from Emmanuel Church added.

"I think that when you start to open up a need, and you realise that need is more than food - it's about finance, support - but actually it's really about being a community.

"Then you realise that what you're doing on Sundays has also got to be very open.

"There's people here who have no experience of faith whatsoever coming through our doors.

"Well that has to change how we present the gospel, how we present church going forwards."

This operation is also hoping to help people with housing and benefits issues, mental health and loneliness.

The aim is to supply compassion and friendship, as well as food.