Brighton and Hove News » Community co-op seeks council funding for Meals on Wheels


Bryan Coyle and Janet Cronin, co-CEOs of EBFC

East Brighton Food Cooperative (EBFC) has applied for long-term council funding for its meal delivery service.

The volunteer-run kitchen sends freshly prepared meals to the most vulnerable, housebound and isolated people in the city, serving between 80 and 300 people at different times of the year.

Its latest impact report says a staggering 58% of their beneficiaries felt their health would have deteriorated without the meal service.

German Doner Kebab

The report states: “Providing this essential city-wide community meal service for the council without adequate council funding is unsustainable.

‘We are the only contact some of our clients have with the outside world, putting a strain on social services and other departments of Brighton and Hove City Council.’

Bryan Coyle, founder and co-CEO of EBFC, said the only way the initiative would continue was to provide long-term counseling alongside the food donations and volunteers they receive from the community.

He said: “What we do is too important a service to be left to unpaid volunteers.

“We have such dedicated and hardworking volunteers, but no one else provides this service, and with 4,000 people in Brighton and Hove suffering from malnutrition, we expect our numbers to increase again in winter.”

The Meal Service operates seven days a week across the city from Saltdean to Portslade and relies on volunteers, some of whom were formerly Meal Service recipients.

Mr Coyle said there are currently more recipients in Hove than in Whitehawk, showing that the meal delivery service is still needed.

He said: “It’s amazing how they look after just two weeks, and it shows the health benefits of healthy, nutritious meals.”

The impact report says the meal service benefits those who are protecting against covid, those with disabilities or physical conditions, and those who cannot afford food.

Their survey also highlights that without the meal service, 37% of beneficiaries would be hungry, 32% would forget to eat and 21% would be unable to live independently.

Volunteer Janet said: ‘We are developing the menus with what we get from donations, with meat and vegetarian options, and we try to respond as immediately as possible to people who need help.’

The EBFC also hosts lunch clubs, cooking classes and outdoor events so “people can experience the whole journey of food from seed to plate.”

The impact report states: “Early intervention of the kind that EBFC provides with our meals and care improves the health and well-being of the most vulnerable and isolated people, saving money, resources and, above all, health.”


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