We know how difficult it can be to ask for help, including support with emergency food. That's why we welcome everyone who is referred to us with kindness and respect.
Meeting your immediate needs
If you’ve been referred to us, we’ll receive your online foodbank voucher directly from the agency that’s referred you. The person referring you may also give you a paper copy of the online voucher, but this isn’t essential. One of our food bank team will phone you so that we can book you in to the food bank welcome centre that’s most convenient for you.
At the moment, we’re asking our volunteers and guests to wear a face mask unless medically exempt. This is to look after each other as well as we can while the Covid-19 pandemic continues. We’ll have free disposable face masks available at the front door of all our welcome centres, in case you don’t have one.
At the food bank centre, you’ll be welcomed by one of our trained volunteers. We’ll sit down together, and hot and cold drinks and something to eat will be on offer. The volunteer will have your voucher ready, and will go through the menu of what’s in a food parcel with you. We want to make sure that we give you the right food to meet your dietary and cultural needs, so please do let us know if you have any special requirements or allergies, for example, gluten free, halal or vegetarian – or just anything you or your family really need.
We can also provide additional toiletries and essentials, like nappies, sanitary products, loo roll, toothpaste and toothbrushes, shower gel and shampoo. Just let us know what you need – we’re here to help.
Providing further support and free, expert advice
When our food bank team phone you, we’ll ask if there’s any other support we can offer – including support to help you resolve the difficulties that have caused hardship and your need to use the food bank. Our volunteers at our welcome centres will also offer further support if that would be helpful to you.
For instance, we have a Foodbank Advice Project, in partnership with Citizens Advice Wandsworth. We can refer you to one of our expert and friendly food bank advisers if helpful. They can support you with advice and casework to sort out problems with benefit payments and deductions, housing, employment, debt – and also with difficult family problems like domestic abuse.
We can also give you information and support around applying for a crisis grant from Wandsworth Council, which Wandsworth residents in need can receive 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). You can find out more about these and other support grants available for Wandsworth residents, like discretionary housing payments (to help with rent if your benefit payment doesn’t cover rent costs).
We work closely with wellbeing and mental health support services too, as we know that many people having to use a food bank are feeling stressed, anxious, depressed, and sometimes even having thoughts around suicide. You’re not alone, and we’d love to help you access the support you need to start to feel better.
If you’re struggling with your mental health today, please tell your GP or mental health support worker if you have one. You can also contact the local mental health support service called Talk Wandsworth yourself, using this short online self-referral form or by phoning 020 3513 6264.
In an emergency, or if there is an immediate risk of self-harm or injury, please:
- Call NHS 111
- Call emergency services 999
- Go to your local accident and emergency services