At a time at which Harvest Festival is being marked across the country - including at the HDC Annual Service in St Marys, Horsham on Sunday there is a huge focus on those that are struggling with increasing bills.
The rising cost of living, in particular increasing energy prices, is a huge concern locally as it is globally. Higher inflation is being driven by rising energy costs, provoked by surging demand after the pandemic as well as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which in turn has put pressures on living costs.
On Friday I visited the team at Horsham Matters, who have provided brilliant local support for years, to hear about the increased demand for the Food Banks they provide to local residents. Sadly the need for their services is picking up considerably.
Horsham Matters are focussed on providing an holistic approach helping service users to not only access food through the foodbank but to also offer help through debt advice, household budgeting and support.
The charity runs foodbanks in the town itself as well as a mobile hub which visits many of the villages in the District. More details on how to access the food bank for support and a full timetable of opening times and locations can be found here: Horsham Foodbank | Horsham Matters (horsham-matters.org.uk)
Horsham Matters provide a vital safety net to those going through a difficult time and help people to get back on their feet. This was clear in the statistics the team showed me where in September 2020, during the height of the Covid pandemic, they were supporting over 600 people across the District. In September 2021 this dropped very considerably. Unfortunately, this September the numbers are back up to a similar level last seen in 2020.
Horsham Matters are also working to open a number of “warm spaces” across the District, opening at the end of this month.
Horsham Matters are always keen to receive additional help whether that be through food or financial donations, volunteering, or by donating unwanted household items to their “Love it Again” shop.
The Government has put in place measures to help households with the rising cost of living, but I recognise that even with this support times are challenging for many households.
There is an information hub on my website where constituents for whom it may be helpful can find information about the available Government support as well as local help: www.jeremyquin.com