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.
Let’s Talk Money
Firstly, get advice and support through Citizen’s Advice Let’s Talk Money programme. They can help you if you are worried about debts, rent arrears, claiming benefits, or need support to find employment and more.
The Citizen’s Advice team is here to offer free and friendly guidance. They will not judge you. They are here to understand your individual circumstances and help you to get the right support.
Call their Let’s Talk Money helpline on 01202 985 104 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm) or email them at email@example.com.
Community Food Map
If you are in need of support in accessing food, Use this map to find out about community food projects near you.
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 directly 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.
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.
Food support for families and free school meals
If your family is experiencing financial hardship, you may be eligible for food vouchers during term time lockdown and the February half-term holidays. Please contact your child's school, early years setting or the BCP Council Family Information Service for more information and how to apply.
If your family finds it difficult to afford a decent lunch for your children, you can apply for free school meals which are available for children whose parents receive:
- Income Support
- Jobseeker's Allowance (income based)
- Employment and Support Allowance (income based)
- Child Tax Credit based on income below £16,190
- The Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
- Asylum Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- Working Tax Credit 'run-on' (this is the payment someone may receive for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
- Universal Credit with an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400.
Children who receive Income Support or income based Jobseeker's Allowance in their own right qualify as well.
Families who receive any level of Working Tax Credit are not entitled to free school meals.
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.
The Poole Pantry has been set up to support those who have insufficient income for a balanced and nutritional diet. Poole Pantry can provide for them the whole range of food at a fraction of high street prices. Free membership, with a bag of 10 items for a suggested donation of £5.
Various organisations are offering families and individuals opportunities to learn to cook affordable food.