Support for Families – Food Banks and How to Access Them

If things are getting tougher for you and your family, perhaps you’re skipping meals to ensure that your children eat, or constantly trying to choose between heating your home and eating as you can’t afford to do both, we’ve put together a brief guide explaining how food banks work and how you go about accessing one for the first time.

Food banks are community organisations that are there to help if you can’t afford to purchase that you need. Normally, you’ll need to get a referral to start using one, and this referral can be for yourself as well as any other family members you live with, including your partner. However it is sometimes possible to access one without a referral, if for example the food bank is run by a Church. You can always contact your local food bank in the first instance to see if you need a referral first.

Referrals are possible from Citizens Advice where an advisor will ask you a few questions to check your eligibility, but you can also speak to your GP, housing association, local council or social worker. The organisation that refers you will give you a voucher and tell you where your local food bank is, sometimes vouchers are only valid on a specific day so it’s always best to check.

Food banks offer free emergency food donated by local businesses, shops and members of the public, and much of the food offered will be dried or tinned (with a long shelf life) as opposed to fresh food, which is sometimes available, and typically offer enough food for 3 days. Sanitary items, nappies, wipes, toilet roll, deodorant etc are also commonly available.

Volunteers will be able to take into account the number of people in your household, the age of any children you have plus any dietary requirements when putting your food parcel together.

You’ll need to get another referral before you can visit again, and some food banks have a limit on the number of times you can visit, but it’s always worth asking.

If you are really struggling and need help, please do not hesitate to contact the School and we will do our very best to support you during these difficult times.


Visiting a food bank