Securing food for vulnerable people

Food partnerships are filling significant gaps locally in securing food for people on a low income, for children eligible for free school meals and for those needing to self-isolate due to older age or medical risks.

28 May 2020

This section contains a compilation of some of the latest information, advice and guidance to support the local response. For the latest national updates check the Sustain's alliance cronavirus pages and the Food for Life latest updates on free school meals. We recognise the importance of sharing how places have overcome barriers and created the guidance and support but please note we can’t verify the guidance produced locally in terms of its safety and you should always refer to the official national guidance.

Handling and delivering emergency food

Hundreds of thousands of people on low income or with no family and friendly support to turn to are struggling to get food and other basic necessities they need. Local food partnerships are stepping in to fill significant gaps in the system by for example linking up food business with surplus charities or other organisations that would like to re- distribute surplus food, signposting emergency food, coordinating or collaborating with others to ensure holiday food provision continues and food emergency reaches those most in need.

While community centres had to close, food banks and homeless shelters can continue to stay open as per Government guidance on closing certain businesses and venues and many community kitchens continue operating a delivery service. Food partnerships and community organisations are adapting rapidly to the new situation to continue to provide emergency food to those most in need. 

Government’s guidelines on how to help safely

School food

With schools closed for all but children of key workers, departments for education in England and devolved nations, local authorities, caterers and schools have had to quickly develop new food solutions for children in receipt of free school meals. However, many fears and uncertainties over funding and structures for delivery still remain and food partnerships are stepping in and working with local authorities and other local organisations to supply holiday lunches not just to children on free school meals but many families on low income with children previously receiving universal infant free school meals who don’t have that safety net anymore. Please check the Food for Life latest updates on free school meals.


Local examples


  • Community Food Initiative North East (CFINE) have joined with Aberdeen City Council to launch a Covid-19 appeal. A collaboration has been formed with Aberdeen Cyrenians, Foyer, Social Bite, Evening Express, Original 106, Instant Neighbour, Somebody Cares and Tuck in.
  • CFINE is coordinating food parcel deliveries and last week delivered 51,800 meals. The collaboration have taken 119 support calls, distributed 12.6 tonnes of food (equates to 30,000 meals) of mostly FareShare produce to food hubs and recruited 10 volunteers to deliver food via cargo bikes, as well as many volunteer drivers. 
  • Aberdeen Food Club Community Trust are also delivering food parcels





  • Birmingham City Council have been providing 4,000 parcels per week to shielded groups, catered to dietary requirements.  National Express Accessible Transport has helped with distribution of parcels. CityServe’s nutritionists are ensuring the parcels are nutritionally balanced and fresh produce is sourced from the city wholesale market.
  • Birmingham City Council have commissioned The Active Wellbeing Society (TAW) to coordinate the response for vulnerable groups and they are working with all food banks in the regions, including faith based food groups so that food can be moved all around the city. There is one contact helpline for those in need of food to allow for coordination and food banks meet weekly to check in. The council is helping to fund the coordination and the food access as many food bank donations have dried up. Wellbeing information is also included in food parcels to check in on mental health of the borough.
  • BVSC have been coordinating the voluntary sector of the emergency response. 
  • ‘Brum baby bank’ has been created to ensure mothers and babies are getting access to nutritious food and are crowdfunding.
  • Cityserve, the Council’s catering service, have provided the majority of free school meal parcels ahead of the government scheme.
  • Harborne Food School is providing ‘home from hospital’ hot meals to people returning from hospital. 
  • Birmingham Council issued their own Free School Meal Vouchers because the national vouchers have been too slow



  • Feeding Bradford working closely with council emergency planning as they are seen as a key part of council strategy re. Food banks and crisis meal providers for destitute homeless 
  • They are setting up some food collection points for organisations and working with new neighbourhood hubs to see how food can be distributed through new centers – new work that council are calling to Feeding Bradford to assist with  
  • School feeding led by Bradford Council – plan is that school kitchens remain open to feed children probably as takeaways 



  • Inside the Food Hub: Hove Park School in Hangleton 
  • Brighton and Hove Food Partnership have produced a guide for people with limited no cooking facilities, including ‘kettle cook’ recipes
  • Vale Community Centre Food Bank: Voices from a front-line food bank
  • Coronavirus update, including: free and low cost food, food to buy, access to food, food waste and donations, helping others
  • East Brighton Food coop have opened their second community kitchen, preparing and delivering 100 meals a day 
  • Weald Allotment Community Fridge has been supplying supermarket produce, combined with fresh allotment produce to local households since April 24. The volunteer team delivers food to anybody who requests based on the slogan “anybody can put food in , anybody can take food out, no questions, no hassle, no waste”. They are now offering ‘mini allotments’ alongside deliveries, including herb, vegetable and strawberry plants for residents to grow themselves on their windowsills. The plants come with cultivation tips and can be kept in pots or planted out 
  • Brighton Aldridge Community Academy are running a Meals on Wheels service in collaboration with the community pub, the Bevy, a community owned hub and food hub (who have shifted their over 50s lunch club to a delivery service). They deliver twice a week and have repurposed their teaching kitchens to help with the service. 
  • Brighton and Hove Food Partnership is working with the city council to set up deliveries of food parcels and prepared meals to protect shielded groups, they are fundraising here. They have also set up a directory of where to access food and how local residents can help
  • Holiday Hunger scheme ‘Chomp’ is delivering hampers to families in need, as well as activity packs sponsored by local business, Higgidy Pies
  • Brighton and Hove Food Partnership have called for the new council phone lines set up for Covid-19 to include info on Healthy Start and Free School Meal information into the script for those calling in with families
  • Grow a Row for Real Junk Food Project Brighton: inviting allotment holders to grow an extra row of vegetables to donate
  • Hangleton and Portslade Mutual Aid group have collaborated with local restaurants and wholesalers (Premier Fruits) to create a new veg box scheme to meet the needs of the community. They plan to expand and are donating profits to Brighton’s Hungry at Home campaign 



  • The Stokes Croft Food Project has been set up by local businesses, charities and campaigners to produce and distribute cooked food packages to the community. Jamaica Street stores are currently cooking 150 vegetarian meals every Tuesday and 100 meals every Sunday and The People’s Republic of Stokes Croft is working with Bristol Housing Action Movement, B.O.S.H, the National Food Service and Caring in Bristol to distribute the meals 
  • Southmead Development Trust has set up a Southmead Community Response Team to identify and contact vulnerable residents. Their Greenhouse Cafe is now being used as a hot dinner delivery service across Southmead and North Bristol which are offered at an affordable set price. They are partnered with FareShare South West and Bristol Food Union as part of their cooked food delivery chain. They also recently delivered 200 free meals to residents in the community cooked by Gallimaufry Kitchen.
  • Network’s Good Food Response to Covid-19 can be found on their website and includes where to go for help, how to support to local food businessses and where to give help alongside inspiring ideas
  • Bristol Food Union is an informal collective of restaurants, food businesses and community organisations that have come together across sectors to ensure Bristol stays fed during Covid-19
  • Bristol Estate Leaseholders and Tenants Association have launched emergency community lunch and food parcels to the estate
  • Bristol National Food Service now supplying over 1,500 meals a week drawing from over 100 volunteers and linking with youth centres, events venues and Bristol Food Union surplus meals. There is no means testing to access this service 





  • Cambridge Sustainable Food have published advice for safely handling and delivering food 
  • Cambridge Sustainable Food have created a spreadsheet documenting notice and actions happening around the city e.g. CAB closing to drop ins, football club cancelling community events including senior lunches to make sure they know where the hunger gaps are. They are also approaching local businesses and universities for redistribution services, food donations and resources 
  • Cambridge Sustainable Food is working closely with the Cambridge Food Poverty Alliance and other organisations to deliver Holiday Lunches. They have opened 3 kitchens in the city and are using existing Holiday lunch networks to identify beneficiaries. Cambridge Sustainable Food have provided over 700 holiday lunches over the past two weeks and they are in discussion with caterers to continue provision for pupil premium families 
  • The Council is running a referral phone line which advises on food related issues including Free School Meal vouchers and Healthy Start
  • Cambridge Organic are calling on ‘Community Angels’ to help identify those most in need for their fruit & veg deliveries and have stopped new members joining so they can focus on vulnerable members of the community




  • Restaurants and cafes in Cardiff have joined forces and upscaled to produce meals for the NHS, as part of the Feed the Heath Campaign. They are raising money for the efforts here.







  • A partnership between Feeding Coventry, Trussell Trust and Hope Coventry are supplying food parcels to children and families who are falling through the gap which is all being coordinated through schools





  • Dundee Free School Meal set up: A direct weekly payment of £11.25 per child will be made into the accounts of families who qualify, where the Council holds bank details (families without stored bank account details will be contacted). Those eligible include: any child in a nursery who would normally get free school meals; Pupils in P1 - P3, who receive the school clothing grant; P4 - S6 will be based on free school meals entitlement. Vouchers will be available as a safety net in case bank details for some families cannot be confirmed. Payments will be backdated until 23rd March, the date from which the Council was unable to provide the normal free school meals service.



  • Refuse – real junk food project with pay as you feel café and a catering business in Chester le Street is now delivering meals to vulnerable people who have self referred / been referred by partner orgs
  • Little Chefs Big Chefs – previously running a community food waste pantry and delivering workshops etc. now deliver food parcels (not hot meals) including veg, milk and basics to self-referring residents in the Bishop Auckland area. 



  • Cyrenians, who bring people together to cook and eat together, have turned their teaching kitchen into a production kitchen and have cooked and shared over 13000 meals in the past 5 weeks
  • Score Scotland's Community Fridge remains open three days a week 10-1pm
  • The Community Meal and WHALE Arts is now a Community Takeaway service with social distancing 



Sustain case study: How a school’s catering team in Enfield have launched a new service to provide meals on wheels for older and vulnerable people 



  • Exeter City Council and Wellbeing Exeter have set up a community support page to link volunteers with those in need of some support



  • Feeding Flintshire is a new online directory helping residents during the coronavirus crisis.





  •  LockdownLIVEs project was launched in mid-April. In collaboration with the GMHAN and Street Support Network. LockdownLIVEs is a docu-series co-created by GM residents in emergency and temporary accommodation during the pandemic. The project aims to creatively connect people who are self-isolating in emergency accommodation; and help the broader public understand how this crisis affects those who don’t have their own homes.  The submissions are edited into twice-weekly, themed episodes that air on social media (@StreetSupportUK and @LockdownLIVES) on Tuesdays and Fridays at 3pm
  • An online form has been developed to help record offers of aid and/or requests for assistance across Greater Manchester in relation to the COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Greater Manchester Poverty Action survey of food support providers early in the Covid-19 crisis showed increased demand for their services, but concerns about the food supply.
  • GM Resilience have developed an online form to help record offers of aid and/or requests for assistance across Greater Manchester in relation to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Any organisation, business or individual who has an offer of support to make is asked to complete the online form. Equally any organisation that is in need of support or assistance must also complete the form.
  • A Greater Manchester-wide Community Support Fund has been set up by Forever Manchester for community groups responding to the impact of Covid-19. Greater Manchester Poverty Action has been a recipient of a grant 
  • Greater Manchester Poverty Action is recruiting for a Food Poverty Coordinator to initially work on the coordination of the Covid-19 food provision
  • Sow the City are hosting a webinar on Friday 24 April 10 - 10.45 about their Food Poverty Mapping Network as they have recently mapped South Manchester for food deserts (areas without access to fresh fruit and veg within 10 mins walk) and also food swamps (areas with large numbers of takeaways)
  • Mustard Tree are delivering 100 emergency food parcels and Food Club items a day to vulnerable people across Manchester and Salford, 30 essential toiletry packs to rough sleepers and serving 20 people a day through their onsite Food Club which provides cost-effective food for families struggling to make ends meet. They are looking for both food donations and financial donations 
  • Food Sync have suggested creating an online credit system for families in receipt of school meals
  • Modern Milkman has teamed up with The Bread and Butter Thing and Manchester City Council to make fresh food deliveries to those most in need
  • Manchester chefs and restaurant owners are collaborating to provide food for both NHS workers and the vulnerable. Chefs involved in the effort include: Mary-Ellen McTague, The Creameries, Rich Sharples, Elite Bistros, Rich Carver and The Honest Crust Team, Sam from Where the Light Gets In, Anna Sogaard from Erst, Rachel Stockley from Baratxuri, Ross Parker from Beehive foods and many others.  Aubrey Allen have been donating meat and Cloudwater Brewery have offered their space for storage and assisted with delivery and food sourcing. 



  • Good Food in Greenwich are starting to deliver food boxes to the most vulnerable in April, working with the local council and other partners to register people for the boxes. They have four types of boxes; vegetarian box, meat box, ready meal box, boil in the bag box. They send out basic recipe cards with the contents. For more information about the contents of the boxes, please get in touch.


  • Haringey Council continue to work with Edible London CIC and have opened up a second food hub at Alexandra Palace (the first hub was opened a few weeks ago at Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium). Referrals for the food service come from the Connected Communities line. Food boxes which are going out to vulnerable residents contain fresh produce, bread, milk and ambient goods. They aim to move to a system whereby residents are delivered a monthly essentials box, with a fresh produce box delivered every few days. A lot of their food comes from surplus networks from Edible London and the wholesalers, Tropical Sun Foods
  • Edible London and Haringey Council have teamed up to create a pop up food bank at Tottenham Hotspurs stadium. They are working with Made in Hackney and the Felix Project to redistribute the food



  • Made in Hackney have made this helpful guidance video ‘Want to set up a COVID-19 Feeding Programme?’ of things to consider in terms of setting up a meals delivery service
  • Made in Hackney’s new initiative to provide free meals to vulnerable groups in Hackney and are now delivering 350 meals a day to vulnerable residents 
  • Hackney Council have launched The Hot Meals Grant for charities, social enterprises and other organisations providing meals for the community. Applications will be reviewed from 14 April
  • The Castle Climbing Centre has turned into a ‘Castle Food Service’, providing 500 home cooked meals every week. They are also fundraising to cover the costs for the new project 
  • Feedback are supporting The People’ Kitchen (formerly a fortnightly food surplus community meal) in the Kingsmead Estate in Homerton did it’s first trial run in changing its provision on Saturday. They are running a  bespoke meal delivery service, with some cooked meals and some ingredients going to local residents – the first batch of parcels was collected by Renaisi, a local organisation working with vulnerable refugees. They are focusing on nutritionally balanced and where possible culturally appropriate meals, to cater for someone’s needs for 2-3 days. Local vulnerable members of the community are being identified through collaboration with the local mutual aid group, the Hackney Marsh Partnership and the local housing association. 







  • Referrals are made from the We Are Islington phone line, set up are a partnership of the council, mutual aid groups and local charities
  • Islington Council have launched Islington Giving Crisis Fund to support groups and organisations providing frontline support
  • They have opened up a food hub at a local leisure centre and used the ice rink and a cool storage centre for fresh produce. The public health team is helping to ensure that boxes going out to vulnerable residents are both nutritionally balanced and practical
  • The are 25 community food projects in the borough, part of the Islington Food Poverty Alliance



  • School Food Matters has partnered with Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity to expand breakfast provision to vulnerable families in Lambeth and Southwark by providing free, healthy breakfast boxes that can be collected by families at schools acting as ‘hubs’. School Food Matters has now delivered over 5,000 healthy breakfast boxes to vulnerable families in Southwark and Lambeth over the past 3 weeks in partnership with Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity. In partnership with the charity Chefs in Schools, a pilot to provide nutritious lunches will also be offered to children from schools that are unable to support them through their existing catering team.
  • Be Enriched and Brixton People’s Kitchen have joined forces to deliver emergency food boxes, producing home cooked meals in collaboration with Lambeth and Wandsworth Councils. They are working with mutual aid groups, are fundraising online, and have repurposed funds from their existing funders.


  • Food Futures organise a weekly meeting to coordinate Covid-19 response with representatives from The Lancaster and Morecambe Food Poverty Alliance
  • Lancaster City Council has set up a Lancaster District Support line and volunteer support hub, this will soon be on the council coronavirus webpage. A new website has been created for agencies to refer someone for emergency food 
  • Hope Lancaster are coordinating a community-led response and is working with the council to refer volunteers 
  • ARC are currently feeding 32 homeless people within the district 
  • St Joseph’s Church are actively ringing residents to offer support, requests for food have started to slow down 
  • The Gregson Community Action Trustees have created a survey to help plan local action and bring together volunteers
  • The Morecambe Bay Foundation has set up an emergency response fund to provide financial support to community organisations 



  • The catering teams at Lancaster & Morecambe College and Chefs NW are helping to produce prepared meals for the EggCup frozen meals project. EggCup have partnered with Age UK who undertake screening of referrals and assess other needs. They will be providing 7 main meals per week with supplementary ingredients for breakfast/lunch with capacity for 1400 meals per week.
  • EggCup is providing food to almost 200 households on a weekly basis. Distribution is being done through home deliveries. Food bags are made up of surplus food with some additional being bought in. They have received funding from the Lancaster District Health & Wellbeing Fund to start a buying cooperative to bulk buy staple items for food club members (who pay in increased weekly subscription to access the coop).
  • Olive Branch has seen an increase in  demand, in particular from the asylum seeker community. CAN and Marsh Community Centre are their biggest referrers. Food supplies slightly improved from last week but they are keen to access bulk buying from supermarkets. Currently local supermarket managers are not particularly receptive.  
  • The Larder holiday hunger programme moved online and 36 ingredient kits were sent out to families. This will be rolled out in the summer holidays to 120 families. They are now planning a food voucher scheme based on successful models in the USA that will make fresh local produce affordable to people on low incomes without farmers and producers bearing the cost.



  • Leeds City Council, Leeds Food Aid Network, Leeds Community Foundation,  FareShare Yorkshire, Rethink Food and other partners have coordinated an emergency food response.
  • Catering Leeds are currently providing grab bags, but will be moving to providing hot meals which will be delivered to hubs across the city



  • The Lewisham Irish Centre secured Neighbourhood Community Development Partnerships funding to run a community feeding project and have partnered with Good Hope Cafe, FoodCycle, Catford Community Fridge and a local chef to provide hot meals


  • The Emergency Response Group is now running in nine centres where people without funds for food can pick up a free emergency food parcel
  • A Case Study of how Amy Jobe, beef farmer who is now cooking hot meals and donating to the Serendipity Initiative, based at the Priory Hotel which is now working as a food redistribution centre and providing hot meals twice a day 
  • The Serendipity Project in the Louth area is now working in partnership with three other local restaurants, the Auction House, Boars Head and Woolpack in order to keep up with the demand for meals in the community. As a result, they have renamed, Neighbours Kitchen - a Serendipity Initiative Project 
  • Lincoln food bank and Community Larder are working together on the emergency food response, recruiting volunteers and fundraising for the effort. For bulk food donations, they have set up hubs across the region
  • Monks Abbey Primary School are supporting school families with food parcels and are accepting food donations. The school had already set up a food bank for vulnerable families in November but have been inundated with food requests since the lockdown. The school has a welfare team who are calling in on families everyday to check in
  • The Lift Project has become a takeaway service for Street People in Lincoln
  • The Fish Project (food in school holidays) has supported familieds up until the 20th April to bridge the gap before the government scheme had been properly implemented in schools. The project was a collaboration between the City Council, Bridge Church, Co-op and TescoThe YMCA has introduced more drop off points for food donations and also are offering to collect any donations
  • Lincoln Coop are pairing food stores and pharmacies with local community groups supporting vulnerable people 
  • The Castle Hotel, a family run hotel and restaurant, have started an initiative to provide meals to the NHS on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays. They are fundraising and are seeking other local businesses who are interested in collaborating 
  • Wragby Children Eat Free (chEF), a volunteer run service providing free lunches to any children in the local community in the school holidays, is now operating a Community Meals on Wheels service as a result of rising numbers of vulnerable and self-isolating adults. The organisation usually serves around 90 lunches a week to children in holidays, but this has grown to 200.
  • The University of Lincoln is lending support to children normally receipt of Free School Meals via the schools themselves
  • Age UK Lincoln & South Lincolnshire has launched ‘Food through Adversity:21 meals for £20’, a delivery of meals 3 times a day for older people
  • Horncastle Community Larder are delivering all food parcels are are in urgent need of many supplies
  • Washingborough Academy are providing hot meals to all children who would otherwise have free school meals and offering a delivery service to all members of the community who are over 70 and self isolating. 



  • The Alchemic Kitchen produced 2000 sandwiches in Knowsley last week for school kids but no-one came to get them. It is not known why, but possibly they couldn’t travel because of reduced public transport. They are also likely to be digitally poor.
  • Alchemic Kitchen is supplying 205 meals in the first week of teh Easter holidays in April. They have collaborated with Homebaked Anfield who are making rolls for them from Friday. Alchemic Kitchen are providing hot meals in 5L tubs to hubs where they are portioned by the recipient organisations who deliver to their vulnerable contacts, including Veterans HQ and Speakhouse Hostel
  • Food for Thought school caterers are providing school ‘Meals on Wheels’ services for children
  • Children’s Centres in Liverpool have remained open an information hubs and are able to provide printing services for Healthy Start vouchers



  • The Mayor’s Fund for London has partnered with the school caterer Thomas Franks as part of the Kitchen Social programme to continue meal provision to vulnerable children over the Easter holidays. The charity’s Covid-19 appeal is raising funds to ensure hubs within the Kitchen Social network and other community organisations can provide packed lunches, hot food for collection and food hampers for vulnerable families
  • Using funding from the GLA and Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) which is supporting over 1,000 rough sleepers to self-isolate in hotels across London, St Mungo’s is coordinating three meals a day for every rough sleeper and continuing to supply meals and food boxes to clients in residential facilities across London too. 
  • Mercato Metropolitano has closed but the grocery is open and they have set up a delivery service. They have partnered with Southwark Council and will be distributing over 1000 packs to vulnerable residents. Mercato Metropolitano is also being set up as the central good distribution hub for emergency food distribution with FareShare and other charities. 
  • Harvest for Heroes has set up a Just Giving Page to give free boxes sourced from New Covent Garden Market traders to NHS hospitals in London
  • Wand UK are working with City Harvest to deliver hot meals and food parcels to in West London 
  • Toast Ale have just launched a new initiative where every beer bought will contribute to a meal for someone in need
  • Colville, Notting Dale & Norland Wards in Kensington & Chelsea have set up a mutual aid website which includes some very useful information about safeguarding 



  • Pulling Together Ludlow community site was created to help deal with the effects of Covid-19. They send out weekly newsletters with updates



  • Maldon District Council has created a leaflet of food provision in Maldon. The leaflet demonstrates a real collaborative and community wide effort, with funding received from Essex County Council for hot meal provision at the Prince of Wales Pub, to the coordination, make up and distribution of emergency food parcels from the Maldon and District CVS, Maldon Churches Together and the Salvation Army with generous donations and support from local supermarkets
    Maldon District Council and partners are interested to hear what holiday support residents want and need and are asking families to fill out a short survey to detail this.
  • Taxi companies have agreed to deliver takeaways alongside community agents and volunteers
  • The Salvation Army is helping to source food donations from supermarkets, local businesses, school caterers and suppliers. Food is stored at the Salvation Army and given to vulnerable residents through collection or drop off
  • Maldon Council have created a handy document to help cook healthy meals with the new school meal e-vouchers 



  • The Alchemic Kitchen, Manchester Urban Diggers and Feedback gleaned 800 cauliflowers and 1.5 tonnes of beetroot from a packhouse that would have otherwise gone to waste to help feed vulnerable groups
  • The Alchemic kitchen and other community groups are trying to set up a fresh fruit and veg box for those who need it with the aim to fund it for those who cannot afford



  • New community project, Planna Fwyd, in Dyfi Valley is organising a variety of food production initiatives via Zoom, including lessons for first time crop growers and sending out seeds to families so they can grow their own. The group also plans to organise a land army of volunteers to work on farms. The community project was born after the existing community groups, Mach Maethlon, joined forces with a local mutual aid group to combat food shortages.



  • Milton Keynes Community Fridge has partnered with FareShare, Community Action, the Council and other charities. The Old Bath Community Centre is no longer open but is being used as a distribution centre for pre-packaged food on Thursdays. They receive 100 parcels from Fareshare to distribute weekly.



  • The Magic Hat Cafe run by Bind, a pop up cafe and pay-as-you-feel market, is now packing surplus food into parcels which are distributed either directly to individuals who self-refer using an online form, or in bulk to organisations who have vulnerable service users. The 10kg food parcels contain a bag of fruit and vegetables and a bag of bakery, tinned and ambient goods and they are producing on average 200 food parcels a day (3 days per week), which equates to 6 tonnes of food/12,000 meals. Recipients have been identified through existing networks and through Connected Voice
  • Food Nation is offering support in the communities of Byker, Walker, Walkergate and Heaton through the Newcastle City Council ‘City Life Line’ platform. From the 1 st of April Food Nation have been receiving referrals from the Newcastle CityLife team who are matching individuals with their nearest organisation who have been verified as a reputable group able to offer appropriate support. Food Nation also help people to navigate the new way of living including how to use local shop delivery services and understand how to access any emergency provision available to them. There are offering three areas of support:
    • Support with a one-time shopping essentials delivery - these items are typically provided through the surplus food redistribution networks in Newcastle and are basic fresh and dry store foods dropped off on doorsteps that same day. The recipient is then linked to local schemes and businesses offering delivery services
    • ‘Food Nation Friend’ Phone Calls - is a service of befriending for those most in need of increasing their social connections whilst unable to leave their homes and have limited friends and family connections.
    • A meal delivery service - where meals are cooked from fresh by Food Nation’s sister company and restaurant Harissa Kitchen - which is no longer able to trade. All people referred will receive 6 days’ food each week, delivered on Monday, Wednesday and Friday with the expectation to serve at least 540 free meals a week to begin with and capacity expanding to 900 as demand increases - at least 9,900 free meals over the next three months. They have a Go Fund Me page and are applying for grants. They are also hoping to work with Meals4NHs
  • West End Women and Girls Centre have launched Scran 4 the Fam, a daily soup delivery service for older people and families in the west end of Newcastle. Homemade vegetable soup is delivered between 12noon and 2pm. The soup is cooked in the centre’s professional kitchen by their community cook and delivered by checked and vetted staff, ensuring Public Health guidelines are followed for food preparation, handling and delivery. 
  • Newcastle Food Poverty Network partners have mapped information about food banks and free emergency food in Newcastle 
  • Citylife Line has been set up with partners in the voluntary and community sector for people wanting to volunteer their time while also providing a service for people to register their need for assistance. Newcastle City Council, Gateshead Council and Connected Voice - support a coordinated response to COVID-19








  • Community fridges in Abingdon, Witney and Wantage delivered hundreds of food parcels last month to people struggling to access food during the Covid-19 pandemic. All food is surplus that would otherwise have been thrown away. Sustainable Wantage's fridge alone distributed just shy of 3 tonnes of food to 233 households in April. They have implemented a traffic light system to help them get food to those who need it most:
    • Red: Highest priority; for those who are struggling to get food.
    • Yellow: Medium priority; for those who are managing but goody bags would really help out.
    • Green: Low priority; for those who are doing fine but are happy to receive a goody bag from time to time to help save food waste.
  • Good Food Oxford have published a very useful blog covering how Oxfordshire is responding to the crisis and how you can help and a collection of resources for various food businesses and community groups
  • Oxfordshire County Council, Public Health and Good Food Oxford have launched a campaign, Oxfordshire Food Superstars, to share information to help people to cook, eat well, grow their own food and waste less. They have created a resource pack for Schools who are doing a great job getting food to children on Free School Meals, and families who are not usually eligible for help. And a resource pack for Families “Family Food Fun” with tips, inspiration and recipes to help make the most of food. They will be compiling case studies of ‘Oxfordshire Food Superstars’ to celebrate and share best practice in action
  • Ark-T, Waste2Taste, Flo’s - the Place in the Park and Oxford Together have formed a partnership, OX4 Free Food Crew, and are providing hot meals twice a week to those most in need living in OX4
  • A list of community action groups can be found here and an Oxford Mutual Aid Group has been set up
  • Oxford City Council and Oxford Hub have created new Locality Response Centres, each centre will have its own budget to respond to the crisis locally as needed. Find out how you can volunteer here
  • Good Food Oxford held a Food Bank Forum to enable all food banks to share needs and offers and they were able to redirect resources – food and volunteers – to the areas in need as a result of this collaboration. SOFEA are supplying food via FareShare to all food banks in need and have set up 15 additional community larders since the start of the crisis and now deliver food parcels to over 2,700 members per month. A further 24 larders are planned for rollout by the end of May
  • Oxfordshire Food Access Map and Database now lists foodbanks, community cafes and food surplus kitchens countywide
  • Good Food Oxford are working with Oxford Brookes nutritionists to advice on food parcel contents
  • Oxford Together and Oxford Mutual Aid are working with the City and District Councils to support the distribution of emergency food parcels to vulnerable isolated residents. They have collectively mobilised over 8,000 volunteers across the County to support vulnerable residents getting shopping and deliveries.
  • Cherwell Volunteer Driver Services have 120 drivers supplying 150 food emergency deliveries per week
  • The School Lunch Company is preparing packed lunches and food parcels for children on free school meals in more than 30 schools to ensure they continue to receive a healthy lunch. Whilst Good Food Oxford encourage hot meals and food parcels as best practice, where schools have opted for vouchers they are working with schools to help parents to make the most of their vouchers.



  • Preston Larder emergency cooked meal provision became operational on 23rd March and the Larder cafe staff and volunteers continue to cook nutritious meals and get them out to people in crisis. They have teamed up with Age Concern, Preston Minster, social services and housing associations. They are receiving lots of donations from wholesalers. 
  • Preston Larder Kids in the Kitchen Holiday Hunger programme was adapted for the Easter holidays and was delivered online with a daily video recipe and ingredients delivered every 2-3 days. All run by volunteers and with mostly donated food. An example of the videos can be found here




  • School Food Matters has partnered with Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity to expand breakfast provision to vulnerable families in Lambeth and Southwark by providing free, healthy breakfast boxes that can be collected by families at schools acting as ‘hubs’. School Food Matters has now delivered over 5,000 healthy breakfast boxes to vulnerable families in Southwark and Lambeth over the past 3 weeks in partnership with Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity. In partnership with the charity Chefs in Schools, a pilot to provide nutritious lunches will also be offered to children from schools that are unable to support them through their existing catering team.
  • Fooditude have reopened their kitchen to work on the emergency food response and have produced and delivered over 8,000 community meals to vulnerable residents in Southwark. They are fundraising
  • Southwark Council are feeding 1,400 individuals a week organised with home delivery systems organised with Bestway cash and carry. They have set up a centralised system for coordinating supply for vulnerable people with a generic shopping list for the wholesaler, which is complimented by fresh produce and added household products. Bestway delivers to one hub and Southwark Council are using their staff to pack products into individual food parcels and deliver. 


  • Mid Surrey Community Fridges have physically closed and instead 5 community hubs have been set up in Mole Valley area where teams take deliveries of surplus food. The surplus is then bagged and distributed to those in need in the community. They have partnered with the local council, DWP, Primary Care Trust and other local community charities.



  • Sutton Council, Volunteer Centre Sutton and others are calling for volunteers to register interest here
  • Sutton Community Farm are offering their Medium Veg Boxes at a highly discounted rate, which can be donated to the food bank



  • Our Kitchen Thanet has been working with 18 food banks to provide food for the community. They have been providing 120 weekly veg bags (sourced from FareShare, gleaning and other networks) and are charging £2 per bag. They are also coordinating 160 portions of healthy takeaways every Friday for £2. The Chefs and drivers offer their time for free. They are hoping to set up portacabin pantries on public and church land to offer cheaper food shopping options and Church hall kitchens for small food production operations for local communities. 


  • Tower Hamlets Food Partnership have collated their own digest for what’s going on in the area, including access to food, donations, markets and shops and offers of support 
  • Five locations in Tower Hamlets will be handing out free hot meals to take away for any family with school-aged children that are in need over Easter (excl Sat & Sun)
  • A Plate for London is raising £50,000 to feed school children in Tower Hamlets during the Easter Holidays. Five locations across Tower Hamlets are serving hot food to take away from 8 - 17 April (each hub serving 300 meals). The locations are: Brady Centre, Harford Multicentre, St Paul’s Way, Gayton Classroom 1, Spotlight
  • London Borough of Tower Hamlets has a list of schools who are offering food bags to children living in households in receipts of benefits
  • Manorfield Primary school is fundraising for its own emergency response
  • Women’s Inclusive Team are running a Meals on Wheels service by referral or in response to calls from vulnerable residents. Bike Works delivers the food



  • Wandsworth Food Partnership has set up the Wandsworth Covid-19 Direct Relief Fund to provide aid to local residents and reimburse volunteers who are purchasing and delivering goods to those in need. They are looking to develop a scheme to support local food businesses and restaurants whilst feeding vulnerable people in the community 
  • A list has been compiled of what local charities, businesses and mutual aid groups are doing
  • Be Enriched and Brixton People’s Kitchen have joined forces to deliver emergency food boxes, producing home cooked meals in collaboration with Lambeth and Wandsworth Councils. They are working with mutual aid groups, are fundraising online, and have repurposed funds from their existing funders.