Eastbourne Foodbank has praised a local community centre and all those who have played a part in its success, as it makes changes to its foodbank satellite operation.
As one of seven foodbank satellites, the foodbank has been providing a service at the Willingdon Trees Community Centre on a Wednesday morning since 2017 and has seen how the centre has developed into a thriving centre providing a wide range of opportunities, support, and services for the local community – including a very popular community fridge.
Chief Executive, Howard Wardle, said: “The Willingdon Trees Community Centre has become a real benefit to many people in the Willingdon Trees community.”
Initiatives like the community café, the community fridge, which gives access to quality fresh and frozen food at no, or little cost, and numerous other groups and activities have “gradually developed the centre into a space where all members of the community can meet, laugh, chat, get support and share resources.”
This success is the main reason the foodbank has decided to leave Willingdon Trees. Mr Wardle said:
“It’s not been an easy decision – Willingdon Trees was our very first satellite centre – we’ve always been made to feel extremely welcome and we thank everyone involved as the support we’ve had from local people has been magnificent.
“Thanks to Lisa, Hannah and Chelsea from the SCDA team, Rev Merrial Woodward, the team from St
Mary’s Church. Rev Danny Pegg and many local people, for making our time at Willingdon Trees a real success.
“But we feel we have achieved what we set out to achieve. We do not see our work as long term but for a period, making a difference and seeing local community groups take up the support and work together.
The team at Willingdon Trees are doing an amazing job in supporting their community.”
Mr Wardle added: “As we feel able to confidently move on from Willingdon Trees we can now focus our very limited resources at The Gateway Church Centre which is open on a Wednesday morning.” Foodbank clients who have received food and financial advice at the Willingdon Trees Community Centre will be able to access the same support at The Gateway Church Centre.
Mr Wardle said: “I can’t praise the local community highly enough. Willingdon Trees Community Centre is a really great example of how a community can come together to socialise, work and support one another. It will be sad moving away, but it’s for all the right reasons.”


The last Eastbourne Foodbank session at Willingdon Trees Community Centre will be Wednesday, 27
March. Clients will be able to access support at The Gateway from 4 April, or from any of the other five satellites that operate on different days.