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Healthy eating

Help to get food if you can’t afford or access it

Get help if you can’t afford to buy food or can’t access food by applying to crisis support and finding ways to increase the money you have or by using local food banks, community pantries or low-cost food options. Find out about additional support available for pregnant women, children and young people.

Immediate help to get food

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs immediate help with food, contact the Community Support Alliance as your first step. They will be able to organise foodbank or shopping help and can link you up to help and support in the community. Your information will not be shared with other partners, unless this is necessary and you have given your consent. 

Increasing your income and how to get help with money worries

If you can't afford enough food, there's lots of support available in Southwark.  If you're worried about money or struggling to make ends meet you can get free and confidential advice and support. You can get this support if you are a refugee, asylum seeker or have no recourse to public funds (NRPF). There is also help to make sure that you're getting all the money that you're entitled to as well as vouchers to help pregnant women and parents of young children to afford healthy food.

Support if you're facing a crisis or emergency

Southwark Emergency Support Scheme (SESS) can help you if you're a Southwark resident who's facing a crisis, emergency or disaster and needs help. The scheme will provide food vouchers, or help with your bills, rather than cash support.

Support from community food organisations

Food banks

Food banks are community organisations that offer food parcels for individuals or families who are unable to afford food and need emergency supplies. You usually need to be referred by another organisation to access food bank services. To access a food bank, contact the Southwark Community Support Alliance.

Low cost food options

Pantry schemes help to make your shopping budget go further, by providing food at a lower cost than the usual price of a shopping basket of food. Pantry members pay a small membership fee each week to access both fresh and cupboard food. Southwark has a:

Save food costs and help the planet

Eating more sustainably and reducing food waste can help reduce your food costs. Find out how to save on food costs and help the planet.

Shopping help for the over 50s

If you're over 50 and find it difficult to do your own food shopping, Age UK volunteers will take your order, deliver it and, if needed, put it away for you. The service costs £5 per delivery. Orders are placed over the phone on Mondays and deliveries are made on Tuesdays and Thursdays. To find out more, phone 020 7701 7477 or email Age UK about their food shopping scheme for over 50s

Extra food resources in our community

The Southwark Food Action Alliance (SFAA) is a group of local organisations who care about good food for all in the borough. Many of its members provide food support to Southwark residents. The SFAA website has information on:

  • low-cost recipes
  • maps showing where you can learn to grow food
  • where food support services are located in Southwark

Do call the service and check it is still open and available to help before you go there. Some food support services are only for specific groups, such as older adults. So do check who the service is for before you visit.

There are also mobile apps that will help you find free food. Olio is an app where you can find people giving away food and you can go and collect it from them.

Extra help for pregnant women and young children

Healthy Start and Rose vouchers can help you to buy fruit, vegetables and milk. These free vouchers are for pregnant women and families with young children. If you use both sets of vouchers, you will get around £8 of help per week per child, or to use yourself if you're pregnant.

Any pupil who is eligible for benefits-related free school meals will receive a free meal, funded by the government, during term time. In Southwark, any nursery and primary school pupil not eligible for benefits-related free school meals is also able to get a free meal, during term time, via the Southwark free healthy school meal offer.

Page last updated: 13 January 2023

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