Food Banks-Debbie Twitchen- 20th October 2017

About Debbie Twitchen

Debbie Twitchen has lived in or near the town of Lewes all her life. Educated at Rodmell Primary
School and Lewes Priory, she worked in the hospitality industry from the age of 15 including most
recently as the House Manager at the East Sussex National Golf Resort.
At present a Landport resident she is Chair of the Residents’ Association there and also the Lewes
District Council Tenants Association (TOLD) as a whole. In these roles she has undertaken
scrutiny, research and consultation functions and attends the Lewes District Council Cabinet
meetings as a representative of the tenant group.
Debbie’s life story is one of triumph over adversity. She has two serious chronic conditions,
Crohns Disease and Fibrous Dysplasia, both of which on their own could stop someone from
taking an active part in the life of their community, and taken together in the form that she has them
are a one in several million occurrence. These have become progressively worse to the point that,
after numerous hospital admissions and serious operations and treatment regimes, she has had to
give up paid work.
Yet Debbie not only continues to fulfil the roles described above, in 2012 she undertook to help to
set up a foodbank on Landport, which to this day she runs with a team of volunteers. The
foodbank is open every Monday afternoon, and food and personal household items are given to
people in need including from Fairshare and donations from members of the public and charities.
At present the foodbank serves about 30 clients including both families and single people of all
In the last year she has become a Trustee of the newly formed Landport Community Hub which is
being developed on the old “Boys Club” site on Landport Road and is also a Trustee of both
Pippa’s Group Nursery which provides for children under five including those who have a range of
difficulties, and of the Landport Youth Club, both of which now operate from the building along with
the Dance Academy. All three groups were on the brink of homelessness before the Hub was set
Debbie is a truly inspiring person.

Landport Foodbank

The foodbank was set up in 2012. This was in response to need identified by Housing Officers
from Lewes District Council and the local Residents Association on Landport. The foodbank is
open every Monday afternoon for clients to pick up food. Volunteers spend the morning getting the
delivered food and other items into family and individual sized parcels, bagged up ready for

Landport Estate, an area with approximately 790 dwellings including flats, houses and sheltered
bungalows. The foodbank operates from 2A Horsfield Road which is the community room for the

Over the last few years there has been an increasing incidence of families and individuals in need
both because of catastrophic happenings in their lives and because of chronic poverty meaning
that even a small change like temporary sanctions or moving from one job or benefit to another is
happening to people very vulnerable to serious food poverty.

A foodbank is a place where people referred by various professionals and agencies can visit to
collect essential food and other personal items from on a regular but it is always hoped very
temporary basis. Referrals can be made, for example, by the CAB, a Housing Officer or a family
doctor or the Headteacher of a school.

People running a foodbank are usually volunteers from the local community. People attending a
foodbank are families and individuals of any age who are currently in food poverty and have been
referred by one of the professionals or agencies agreed in their area to do this.
This sets out the bare bones of the Landport Foodbank. There are clearly much wider issues
embodied in this social institution which can be discussed having looked at this specific example
from our community


The venue:
The Elephant And Castle
White Hill

They are £3 and you can purchase them on the door or about a week before in the venue. Please note that the capacity of the venue is limited, we recommend to buy the ticket in advance to avoid disappointment.

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