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Foodbank help for families

Foodbanks provide assistance for families in times of need.

With the difficult financial climate putting a squeeze on many households, families may need to look for extra support at times. Visiting a foodbank might seem a bit daunting, but you will get a warm welcome in a safe environment, a supportive ear from trained volunteers, and a food parcel.

Meeting your needs

To make sure that you are provided with a food parcel that meets your needs, you will be asked for your foodbank voucher. Volunteers will use your voucher to check the number of adults and children the food parcel needs to support, the ages of children, and any special dietary requirements you may have.

Preparing your food parcel

Whilst your food parcel is being prepared, a volunteer will talk to you about your situation and point you to further support if they can, such as a local debt advice service. Your food will be packed for you, but you can bring your own bags or boxes if you prefer.

Practical guidance and support

Foodbank volunteers are there to help. They will take the time to listen and make sure you feel comfortable during your visit to the foodbank. They are specially trained to identify and offer practical guidance to help tackle the reasons for your referral to the foodbank and will work with you to make sure you have access to the support you need. The Trussell Trust supports a nationwide network of foodbanks and together they provide emergency food and support to families in need. For more details of the Trust and its foodbanks, visit the Trussell Trust website.

The referral process and access to food vouchers

Each foodbank works with different frontline professionals, such as doctors, health visitors, social workers and Citizens Advice, who will be able to refer you to a foodbank and give you a foodbank voucher if they think you need emergency food. The foodbank and referral agency will use this voucher to gather some basic information about you. This will help them to understand why you need support and offer practical guidance, and the right emergency food.

Using your voucher

Once you have been given a voucher, you can exchange this for a minimum of three days’ emergency food at your nearest foodbank centre.

What’s in a food parcel?

Food parcels supplied by foodbanks normally contain at least three days worth of nutritionally balanced meals for individuals and families. These emergency food parcels are not designed to meet long-term need. That is why foodbanks also offer additional support like debt advice where possible. A typical food parcel includes:

  • Cereal
  • Soup
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Tinned tomatoes/pasta sauce
  • Lentils, beans and pulses
  • Tinned meat
  • Tinned vegetables
  • Tea/coffee
  • Tinned fruit
  • Biscuits
  • UHT milk
  • Fruit juice.
  • Foodbanks will also provide essential non-food items like toiletries and hygiene products where they can.

Dietary requirements

When visiting a foodbank centre, one of the volunteers will run through the food parcel packing list with you to check any special dietary requirements that you may have. If they have the facilities to do so, some foodbanks can also provide fresh food. Please get in touch with your local foodbank to find out more.

If you are organising a collection for your local foodbank, please check with them first to see which items they are currently in need of.

For details of foodbanks in your local area, look at this website’s Service Finder page.

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Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust runs a confidential secure text messaging service for parents of children aged 0-19 years called Parentline. The service operates Monday to Friday between 9am and 4.30pm, excluding bank holidays. All texts will be responded to by a public health practitioner within 24 hours. Outside of the service working hours, you’ll receive a message back to inform you that your text will be responded to once the line reopens.

  • Parents and carers of children aged 0-19:



Should you require urgent health advice in the meantime, please contact your GP, visit an NHS walk-in centre or call NHS 111. For emergencies, dial 999 or visit A&E.

This page was last reviewed on 28-09-2023

This page will be next reviewed on 28-09-2026