Coronavirus update – food access, volunteering and more

We have had a lot of enquiries recently about how people in the city will be able to access food over the coming weeks and months because of the Coronavirus. As plans develop we will update this page.

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Free and low-cost food

  • B&H City Council have created an online form & helpline for finding help with shopping, collecting prescriptions and other support; getting emergency food bank referrals; support to keep active and well and to reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness.  If you need extra support, see this poster for information (available in many different languages)
  • Food banks – some are now offering delivery options, see the link for the latest details on which food banks are currently operating. There will be new neighbourhood-based emergency food distribution points opening in the next couple of weeks (with volunteers doing doorstep deliveries) – we will list these as soon as they open.
  • 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 out
  • If you need help with money please contact Money Advice Plus via their website or call 01273 664 000.
  • If you are able to donate money to support this work, please consider giving to the citywide crowdfund campaign.

Food to buy

  • Fresh and dry goods for delivery
  • Meals available via delivery & takeaway
  • See our listings for local shops and plastic-free stores
  • If you can’t find what you want at your local store: We often hear that smaller/ independent shops and international food stores are not having the same shortages as larger stores. Supermarkets restock overnight so the earlier in the day you can go the better your chances to find what you want. Please try not to panic – the UK government is working with retailers to avoid shortages and manage demand if the situation continues.

If you need help to access food

  • People that are most at risk and therefore require ‘shielding’ should have been contacted directly via the NHS re food delivery options. If you are unsure, please get in touch with your GP.
  • B&H City Council have created an online form & helpline for vulnerable residents with no other support
  • List of trusted organisations who can help people by going shopping for them and offering contact free, doorstep deliveries.
  • The Brighton & Hove Ageing Well team have an extensive directory of support services for those aged 50+ including the current advice about going out shopping and special opening hours.  These hours are also relevant to key workers.
  • Brighton & Hove Mutual Aid – Service Offered : Help with online access to services, food shopping and delivery, medication collection, dog-walking and telephone support. You can request help or offer to help others. For safety and security shopping will be left on your doorstep. 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 this (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)

Helping others

Whilst many food banks and other food projects currently have enough 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.

  • Bristol Estate Food Hub urgently need volunteer chefs on Tuesdays and Thursdays for a few weeks to carry them through until their food project closes. Contact: olivia@belta-brighton.co.uk or 07709 532621. 
  • 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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