Support if you are struggling to pay for food

If you need financial help to get food for yourself and your family, there are a number of options.

NHS Healthy Start scheme 

Families on certain benefits can get free vouchers every week to spend on milk, plain fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables, vitamins and infant formula milk with the NHS Healthy Start scheme.

School meal vouchers 

If you have children that were getting benefits-related free meals at school, you will be able to use a national voucher scheme to get a weekly shopping voucher.

Schools will be in contact with families who should be getting a voucher. If you think your family should be getting a voucher, speak to your school. 


A foodbank is for anyone in crisis, who does not have enough money to buy food for themselves or their family.

When you use a foodbank, you will be given enough food to feed yourself and your household for at least three days.

How to get a foodbank voucher

  • You need to have a voucher to receive a food parcel. Please do not go direct to the foodbank
  • If you have used a foodbank before, use your normal route to get a voucher if it is still available
  • We ask you the reason for your crisis, but only so that we can let you know about other groups that may also be able to help you.

To request a foodbank voucher, contact one of the following:

How to get a foodbank parcel while self isolating

If you have someone you can trust who can safely leave the house, you can send them to the foodbank to get your food.

  • You will need to let your referral service know who they are, so the foodbank knows who is collecting for you
  • The person you send will need to give your foodbank voucher number to the foodbank.

If you do not have anyone that can collect the parcel, then please call our helpline on 0300 1237052 or complete our online form. We can help you find a volunteer who can get your parcel for you. 

Other food support

Community fridges

A community fridge reduces food waste by sharing surplus food with the community. The fridges are open to all, do not require means testing and are located in:

Pantries and social supermarkets

Pantries and social supermarkets provide an opportunity for residents to have more food choice than a food bank at a reduced cost. These include small membership fees or require a referral to use them so you will need to check directly with the individual provider.

Christchurch People's Pantry

The Christchurch People's Pantry is a subsidised supermarket for residents of Christchurch. £3.50 a week membership gives access to 10 items of food per week. Membership is requested by applying via their online form.

Poole Waste Not Want Not

Poole Waste Not Want Not is a subsidised supermarket that can be accessed by residents across BCP Council as a route on from using Food Banks. Access is gained via referrals made from Poole Food Bank and the BCP Crisis Team.

Moor Community Food

Moor Community Food is a community store for the Turlin Moor and Hamworthy neighbourhood with no referral needed. Membership is £1 and a bag of 10 items costs between £2.50 and £3.

Cookery Courses

Various organisations are offering families and individuals opportunities to learn to cook affordable food.