From Monday 30 March we’re switching our food bank service to home delivery only. This temporary measure is so we can continue to provide emergency food to people in financial crisis, in as safe a way as possible.
Although our five food bank centres in Battersea, Putney, Southfields and Tooting will be closed, people can still be referred to us by our nearly 200 referral partners across the borough. We’re deeply committed to helping everyone who has no other means of putting food on the table, and we’re glad to support them at this time.
Our referral partners will email a completed voucher to us, and we’ll call the person or family to arrange delivery of emergency food and essential toiletries to their doorstep. We’ll also ask people if they need phone advice from our Foodbank Advice Project, for instance on housing, employment or benefits.
Why are we switching to home delivery only?
- Many people referred to us in crisis are disabled or have long-term health conditions. We want to protect them and enable them to stay safe in their homes while being able to access emergency food.
- We support many families with young children, with a majority being lone parent households. We want to make accessing the food bank more logistically possible for them through home delivery, especially as their children will be at home.
- We also want to protect our volunteers, staff and people needing the food bank: minimising contact and enabling people to physical distance as much as possible while still getting the crisis help they need.
Other sources of crisis support for local people
It’s not right at any time that people are forced to use a food bank to get the basic essentials they need. Now more than ever, we’re calling on the government and local authority to increase the vital support they can offer, to ensure all households have sufficient money for food.
As well as the government urgently reducing the five week wait for Universal Credit payment and making Advance Payments into grants not loans, we’re asking Wandsworth Council to greatly expand the crisis financial help they can provide to households whose income has been stretched or stopped altogether. For instance, neighbouring borough Kensington and Chelsea this week announced they’re boosting their local welfare assistance scheme by an initial £500,000 to support local people in financial crisis, which is separate from from the £500 million hardship fund promised by the Chancellor to local authorities on 11 March.
In the meantime:
Free School Meals replacement
We understand that local families whose children are eligible for Free School Meals will be contacted by text or email with supermarket vouchers that they can redeem online or in store. Eligible families could contact their school or try Wandsworth Council’s new helpline if they haven’t yet received anything.
Wandsworth Council Crisis Payment
People in financial crisis who can’t afford to buy food can apply to the Council’s crisis fund, for Sainsbury’s food vouchers and help with pre-payment gas and electricity. Applications need to be made online, and agencies and support workers can support people to apply. We suggest this should be done before or at the same time as making a referral to the food bank, as it means people can shop for fresh food, and the food they most need.
- Wandsworth Council have also set up a Community Hub with a new helpline as a first response for residents, particularly those elderly and/or vulnerable without support networks, who need support to access medical/care services and food supplies. This is to help those most in need stay safe and well while they self-isolate at home.
- Tel: 0208 871 6555
- Website: https://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/public-health/coronavirus/community-hub/
If you have any questions, please email us at [email protected] or give us a call on 020 7326 9428.
A huge thank you
We’re incredibly thankful for everyone who has given to help their neighbours in crisis recently, through the food bank. Thank you so much.
If you’d like to give help – or more help – please consider giving online, either money or food via Bankuet. This is the safest and most efficient way at the moment, and you’ll be helping provide for local people in greatest need. Thank you.