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.

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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 Money Advice Plus, a charity offering free debt and benefits advice, money support services and help with getting a foodbank referral. Get in contact via or call 08081 963 699 and ask for Nick, Julia or Heather.
  • Free School Meals update for families who are eligible.
  • 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

  • There are multiple affordable food schemes such as community markets, social supermarkets, food buying groups and co-ops across the city
  • If you can’t find what you want at your local store: Try smaller/independent shops/international food 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.

Help accessing food

  • Impact Initiatives provides support to access food and shopping for those who are 18+ in Brighton & Hove and can afford to pay for their food but can’t go out to the shops. The Food Access Support service includes a shopping and accessing food directory with options for telephone shopping, online shopping, same day/urgent shopping, and meal deliveries. Contact 01273 293117 (option 3) or 01273 322950 or email for support.
  • Ageing Well is a service for people aged 50+ in Brighton & Hove who are at risk from, or are experiencing, undernutrition. They can talk to you about anything food related and advise on aspects of maintaining healthy nutrition, give you recipes and help you arrange food or meal deliveries.

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.
  • You can also donate food to food banks & other emergency providers or use the collection point at your local shop.
  • 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)


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. 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.

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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