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For food bank referral partners

Information about referring local people in severe hardship to Wandsworth Foodbank

We’re delighted that our food bank welcome centres are now open again at locations across Wandsworth Borough, after 18 months of home deliveries only. These spaces are where people you refer to us can come to collect the food and essentials they need. You can find out more here.

If you already are registered as a food bank referrer with us, below are some of the changes which will affect how you refer people to us from Friday 17 September 2021 – and some of the things that will stay the same.

 

Before you refer

Before you refer to us, we’d strongly recommend you help the person or family you’re supporting to apply online for a crisis grant from Wandsworth Council, available to Wandsworth residents up to 3 times in 12 months. These are supermarket vouchers (approx £30 per person in a household) and gas and electricity vouchers for pre-payment meters (£10/£20 on each). They’re grants, not loans, so people won’t need to pay them back.

It only takes around 5 minutes to complete a crisis grant application, and it means that your client could receive supermarket vouchers which will enable them to choose and buy the food they most need, and fuel vouchers to help them with heating and cooking costs. These grants are also open to people with no recourse to public funds until 31 March 2022.

This year the Council has a budget of £550,000 for crisis and community care grants, so please help residents in need to access this local lifeline – either instead of or as well as a food bank referral.

There are also other support grants available, like discretionary housing payments (to help with rent arrears) and community care grants (for white goods and essential furniture).

 

What’s changed about referring to us?

We’re continuing to ask all referrers to use our online e-voucher system to refer people who can’t afford food and essentials. Please contact us if you only have access to the previous paper vouchers, so you can sign up to start using e-vouchers.

When you create an e-voucher, please ensure you always:

  • Indicate on the e-referral whether your client is able to collect a parcel from one of our centres, or if they need a delivery because they are unable to collect (eg because of disability or self-isolation due to having Covid-19). We only have a limited number of deliveries. We’d also encourage people to come to our centres, so they can easily access further support and advice, as well as reduce social isolation. Referrers can also collect food on a client’s behalf if needed.
  • If you select ‘collection’ rather than ‘delivery’, please assign the referral to the most appropriate food bank centre.  In step 4 of 5 you’ll see a list of the closest food bank centres to the client’s postcode. By default the closest (as the crow flies) is selected, but please talk this through with your client, check the opening times are suitable, and ensure it’s a Wandsworth Foodbank centre (rather than one in a neighbouring borough).
  • Print the e-voucher and give it to the person you’re referring, if possible. This will have the address and opening times of the selected food bank welcome centre on it, and having a paper copy helps gives people confidence when visiting us.
  • Note a new section in the e-voucher creation process, ‘Notes regarding parcel requirements’. Please obtain permission for us to store details about dietary requirements and tick the box indicating this, to ensure we continue to provide diet-appropriate bespoke parcels whilst being GDPR compliant.
  • Remember we’re opening two new centres in addition to our existing five locations; in the Yvonne Carr Centre in Nine Elms (Thursday afternoons), and in Roehampton Methodist Church on the Alton Estate (Friday afternoons), as we know a high number of referrals are for households in those areas. Details of all locations and opening times are on our website.

 

What stays the same?

  • You’ll continue to use e-vouchers to refer people in severe financial hardship to us,
  • We will still phone each person you refer to us, so please ensure you answer ‘yes’ to ‘client consent’, and include their phone number in the referral.  We will call to either book them into a particular session at a centre, or to arrange delivery (if required).
  • Our Foodbank Advice Project advisers will continue to offer vital advice and support where needed. This will be via a mix of face-to-face and phone advice to help people resolve financial crisis.

 

Any questions, do please contact us on the Foodbank Office or email [email protected]

 

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