Coronavirus update – food access, volunteering and more

We’ve received a lot of enquiries about how coronavirus will impact food services and access to food in the city. We will keep this page up to date as things progress.

If you are in a position to support this work, please consider giving to the citywide Hungry at Home campaign.

For help translating this page, contact Sussex Interpreting Services.

Free and low-cost food

  • The Local Discretionary Social Fund (LDSF) are offering additional support for those in need due to the pandemic and can help with getting food, fuel and financial assistance. They can also get you a foodbank referral. See link for more information or call on 01273 293 117.
  • Food banks – Click the link for a list of food banks which are currently operating. If you need a referral, contact the LDSF (above) OR the Moneyworks Advice line on 0800 988 7037 or email: info@moneyadviceplus.org.uk – they can also offer financial advice and support.
  • Low-cost and free meal services offering delivery & takeaway options.
  • Free School Meals update for families who are eligible.
  • From 6 April, pregnant mothers and families with children under 4 who are on benefits can apply for Healthy Start Vouchers without needing a health professional’s signature– just leave part B blank. You will need to print off the online form after completing it- if you don’t have a printer call the helpline 0345 607 6823 and they will post a form to you.

Food to buy

Help accessing food

  • People that are most at risk and therefore require ‘shielding’ should have been contacted directly via the NHS about supermarket delivery options. If you are unsure, please get in touch with your GP.
  • List of trusted organisations who can send someone to the shops for you if you are shielding.
  • The Brighton & Hove Ageing Well team can help with nutrition advice and arranging food or meal deliveries. The service has recently been extended to include all ages. Call 07736 041 926 for support.
  • Brighton & Hove Mutual Aid – Service Offered: Help with online access to services, food shopping and delivery, medication collection, dog-walking and phone support. Request help or offer it to others. Payment by your chosen method will be taken after delivery. Never hand over money in advance. Contact: 07872023446 or email brightonma19@gmail.com
  • If you need somebody to shop for you contact Craven Vale Community Association Volunteer Shoppers

Food waste & donations

  • Individuals with excess food can use Olio to share it (please follow their safety advice closely).
  • Try to prevent food waste from happening, follow these tips.
  • If you want to donate to food banks & other emergency providers, use the collection point at your local shop or consider donating money instead to the citywide crowdfund campaign.
  • Food businesses with surplus/unused stock to donate, please fill out our brief online form here. (Emergency food providers can use all kinds of food, as well as takeaway containers, kitchen consumables, bags, gloves and packaging etc)

Volunteering

Whilst many food banks and other food projects are trying to work with small teams of exisiting volunteers, some are looking to create a bank of volunteers they can call on if people are off sick. Many of the projects are particularly keen for people who already have a DBS check. Please be patient with projects as they are often run by volunteers and are dealing with a lot of enquiries currently – responding to offers of help can take time.

The organisations below have said they need more volunteers.  Please only volunteer IF you are young (under 70), healthy (no underlying health conditions) and have no caring responsibilities. Please only volunteer for an organisation that you can reach via foot, bicycle or car (if necessary). Volunteers are strongly advised not to use public transport if possible.

  • Lunch Positive HIV Lunch Club need volunteers to help with food preparation, cookery and more! Hours are 9am or 10am (by arrangement) till 2.30pm on Fridays. Rota is flexible and planned month by month. We hire at Dorset Gardens Methodist Church, Dorset Gardens, Brighton, BN2 1RL.
    Contact Gary: gary.pargeter@lunchpositive.org or 07846 464384.
  • BMECP Centre need volunteers to help out with a new BME Food bank.  You will need a current DBS check.
  • East Brighton Food Coop have opened their second community kitchen in East Brighton, preparing and delivering 100 meals per day. They need volunteers to cook, assist in the kitchen, make deliveries and help with admin. Message them on Facebook or email janet@eastbrightonfoodcoop.uk
  • Sussex Homeless Support need volunteers to help support homeless people in Brighton & Hove.
  • Newhaven Food Bank are looking for volunteers to help support the food bank.
  • Community Works have up-to-date information about other volunteering opportunities across the city.

Support for food groups & projects

If you are involved in a Mutual Aid group in your neighbourhood or helping deliver food to friends/ neighbours in isolation, please see this advice on safety & safeguarding from Community Works and a guide on food safety and handling from Brighton & Hove City Council.

Those involved in food hubs and food banks can join our Emergency Food Network for further support, networking and shared resources.

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