Referring to a food bank

This page is for advisors and health professionals – to find out how to refer someone to a food bank, and what other help is available for people struggling to afford food.

Most food banks need a referral. You can’t just turn up. If you are an individual in need, please see our food poverty advice.

How to refer to a food bank

Local Discretionary Social Fund (LDSF)

The Food Partnership recommends using this fund in preference to a food bank, if your client is eligible as it can be quicker and will probably give a greater level of help.

People who have applied for or are on means-tested benefits or tax credits, or a low income and who are facing an emergency, or who need help living independently, can apply for supermarket food vouchers and vouchers to purchase white goods as well as other help (e.g. with fuel bills). Online application or tel 01273 293117.

In extreme need – too hungry to wait for a referral to a food bank

On weekdays the best place to send someone is Brighton Unemployed Centre Families Project (BUCFP). It is best to ring BUCFP to let them know someone is on their way on 01273 671 213/601 211.

There are other crisis options in our accessing low cost meals page, including emergency food options for evenings and weekends (you can also download the list of places to go for free or cheap food).

Food poverty is more than food banks

Please also take a look at our food poverty advice page for information on cheap and free meals, Healthy Start vouchers, accessing cookery equipment, community cookery classes, food projects and more.

The Food Partnership is also working on food poverty as part of our food strategy and we have produced a range of reports and resources on food poverty in the city. We can run food poverty awareness workshops for organisations in the city, as well as a range of other workshops for community groups including eating well on a budget and food waste reduction. Please see our food workshops and training pages to find out more.

Referral food banks

Please download here a list of Emergency Food Opening times over Christmas 18

Most of the city’s food banks require a referral from an organisation they trust. If you are not sure how to make a referral you should contact the relevant food bank to ask them. Sometimes a phone call or email is enough, or they may want you to fill in a form. Find listings for food banks in our directory


Bevendean Food Bank – Church Hall, Norwich Drive, BN2 4LA. Open Wednesday 9:30-12:00 (10:00 over summer). Drop in with proof of postcode for people in Lower and Higher Bevendean, Moulsecoomb, Bates Estate, Saunders Park, Meadow View and Lewes Road corridor. The Cafe is also open from 9:30 – 12:00 every Wednesday with advisors on hand to give free advice on debts, benefits and housing. Contact: 07449 464695 or email

Whitehawk Foodbank – St Cuthman’s Church, Whitehawk Way, BN2 5HE. Open Wednesday 12:00-14:00. Referral only. Contact: 07941397648 or

Roundabout Children’s Centre – Whitehawk Road, BN2 5FL. Open Thursday morning from 9:00. Referral only through Children’s Centre/health visitors, for local families with children under 5. Contact: 01273 290300 or /

The Vale Community Centre food bank – 17a Hadlow Close, BN2 0FH. Open Friday 13:00 – 14:00. Referral system, but will give a bag of food if you don’t turn up with a referral the first time; BN2 0F, BN2 0E, BN2 9D, BN2 9Y, BN2 9Z. Contact: 01273 571573 or


Salvation Army Foodbank – 159 Sackville Road, Hove, BN3 3HD. Open Friday 10:00-14:00. Referrals via phone, email and people can self-refer by turning up, ideally on Friday. Appointments can be arranged for other days preferably through a referral agency. Contact: 01273 323072/07954614838 or

Hangleton and West Blatchington Food Bank – St George’s Church Hall, 13 Court Farm, Hove, BN3 7QR. Open Wednesday 12.30-14:30. Referral only for residents in Hangleton, Knoll and West Blatchington. Contact: 07990631892 or

The Purple People Kitchen – Portslade Town Hall, Victoria Road, BN41 1YF. Open Friday 12:00-14:00. Referral only, see Basic Banks website for referring agencies. Contact: 07789765933 or

Moulsecoomb Children & Families Centre – Hodshrove Lane, BN2 4SE. Open Thursday 12.30 onwards. Referral only, for local children under 5 years old. Contact: 01273 294040 or

Shoreham Food Bank – St. John Ambulance building, Shoreham-By-Sea, West Sussex, BN43 6PA. Open Tuesday 10:00-12:00 and Friday 16:00-18:00. Referral only, see list on website for referring agencies. Contact: 07708384906 or


Brighton Food Bank – Calvary Church Building, Stanley Road, BN1 4NJ. Open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10.30-15:00. Appointment and referral only service see website for list of referring agencies. Contact: 01273 695330 or

Faith Alive Ministries Food Bank – The BMECP Centre, 10a Fleet Street, Brighton, BN1 4ZE. Open fortnightly, Friday 12:00 – 16:00. Referral only, for all types of students including families. Bring NUS Card. Food bank users can call and arrange to meet someone within 24 hours. Contact 07887473902 / 07796716753 or

Voices in Exile – Fitzherbert Centre, 36 Upper Bedford Street, Brighton, BN2 1JP. Food bank and drop-in runs Friday mornings 11am-1pm for Refugees/ asylum seekers/ those with no recourse to public funds. Food bank entrance via St. John the Baptist Parish Hall, 2 Bristol Road BN2 1AP.  Contact: 01273 328598 or

Tarner Children’s Centre – Ivory Place, BN2 9QE. Open Thursday from 9:00 onwards. Referral only, for local children under 5 years old and pregnant mothers. Contact: 01273 296700 or

Food Bank at Brighton Women’s Centre Women can be referred or can self-refer by either going to a Peer Support drop-in session or by calling the centre.  Drop-ins are on Wednesdays 2pm – 4pm at St Mary’s Church Hall (61 St James’s Street, Brighton BN2 1PR) and Thursdays 5pm – 7pm (Brighton Women’s Centre, 22 Richmond Place, BN2 9NA).  The BWC food bank provides short and long term support for women and their families. Contact: 01273 698036 Extension 1 or

Fresh Start Community Association – 131 Lewes Road, BN2 3LG. Open Thursday morning from 9:00. Registered families only. Contact: 01273 602157 or

Brighton Unemployed Centre Families Project (BUCFP) – 6 Tilbury Place, BN2 0GY. Open Tuesday and Friday 10:00-16:00 but closed for lunch 13:00-14:00 on both days. If someone is in dire need send them to BUCFP. Drop in for cheap/free lunch and small amounts of emergency food until client can complete food bank referral process. Always ring BUCFP first to let them know and keep this service for extreme emergency only. Contact: 01273 671213/601211 or

Mutual Aid Vegan Food Bank – The Cowley Club, 12 London Road, BN1 4JA.  Open Tuesdays from 1 – 5pm.  No referral system just turn up.  All food is vegan but you do not need to be vegan to receive parcel.  Contact

YMCA DLG Youth Advice Centre – 11 St Georges Place, Brighton, BN1 4GB For 13 – 25 yr olds. A referral isn’t needed but food only goes to people living independently and the same rules as a food bank apply. Register at the drop-in from 3pm – 6pm any weekday.  Young people should preferably also only use it as interim to a proper food bank referral. Contact 01273 624432

If you’re involved in a food bank

Please see our advice for food banks page for information on our food banks and emergency food network.

Contact us

If you would like to discuss these issues further or if you have any suggestions for improving this guidance please get in touch with Helen on 01273 234810 or

Keep in touch

We send an email bulletin for advisors and professionals every two months to share our latest service schedules and details of food-related information and opportunities for clients.

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