Foodbanks and other crisis help in your area
If you're struggling to feed yourself or your family, or need other urgent assistance, find out what help you can get in your area.
If you need to go to a foodbank, you may also want to get advice about whether there is any way that you could increase your income. Are you getting all the benefits you're entitled to? Can you challenge a benefit decision that has reduced your income?
Coronavirus – help getting food
Some foodbanks are still open and some are delivering food directly to people who are unable to leave their homes. Check with your local foodbank to see what they are doing.
If you're extremely vulnerable because of a medical condition
If you're 'extremely vulnerable' because of a health condition like cancer or severe asthma, NHS Scotland will have contacted you. You'll have been asked to 'shield' yourself for 12 weeks.
You can register for free deliveries of food and medicine while you are shielding. You can do this by texting the number in your letter or by phoning your council's shielding support line. Read more about the shielding service and find your council's shielding support line.
If you think you’re extremely vulnerable but NHS Scotland hasn’t contacted you, contact your GP or hospital clinician.
Read more about shielding and which groups are 'extremely vulnerable' on NHS inform.
If you're vulnerable but not shielding
If you can't leave your home because you're at high risk from coronavirus, you can phone the Scottish Government's national assistance helpline on 0800 111 4000 Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm
This will connect you to your council to help you access food, medicine, social work services and other support.
The helpline is for anyone who doesn't have help from family, friends or neighbours and who can't access help online. For example, you might be aged over 70, have a disability, get mental health support, be pregnant or get a flu jab for health reasons.
Finding a foodbank near you
In recent years, foodbanks have started to open across the country. They are often run by churches, charities and other community groups. In some areas the foodbank may have been streamlined for certain groups of clients. For example, help for pregnant women and babies may be called a 'baby bank'.
The 'bank' of help may also be set up to provide more than food, for example, free sanitary products and specific clothing for finding work. Some 'banks' may be called a 'uniform bank' or a 'suit bank'.
Trussell Trust foodbanks
The Trussell Trust is a charity that runs one of the largest network of foodbanks in the UK. To get food at one of the Trust’s foodbanks you will need a food voucher. GPs, social workers, Jobcentre Plus, health visitors and some charities may be able to issue you with a food voucher. A Trussell Trust foodbank can give you up to three days' emergency food.
You can search the Trussell Trust website to see if it runs a foodbank in your area at www.trusselltrust.org.
The Trust can also help if you want to set up a foodbank in your community or you want to make a donation of food or money.
Other local foodbanks
If you can't find a Trussell Trust foodbank near you, there may be other foodbanks in your area run by a local church or community centre. You may not always need food vouchers.
Contact your local council and ask if there is a foodbank near you, and what other help may be available for example from the Scottish Welfare Fund. If you need help and support finding other help you can contact a Citizens Advice Bureau - where to get advice.
If you can't afford to get to a foodbank
If you live in a rural area and cannot afford to get to a foodbank, you may be able to get an emergency delivery of food. Check if a foodbank in your area offers such a service.
Getting other emergency help
Your council, your local Citizens Advice Bureau or another local charity will also know about what other help may be available in your area. This could include things like:
- a soup kitchen
- a place to go for breakfast or hot meal
- emergency breakfast for children
- second-hand furniture or household appliances.
If you need advice and support to find other help you can contact a Citizens Advice Bureau.
The Scottish Welfare Fund
You may be able to get a grant from the Scottish Welfare Fund if you are experiencing a crisis of some kind. This is a national scheme run by local authorities and it pays out two kinds of grant, crisis grants and community care grants. If you are eligible you may be able to get a crisis grant to help you in an emergency situation or a community care grant to help you set up or maintain your home.
- Find out what you can do if you've got problems with benefits
- What you can do if the Jobcentre have sanctioned you while on Universal Credit
- What you can do if the Jobcentre have sanctioned you while on Jobseeker’s Allowance
- What you can do if the Jobcentre have sanctioned you while on Employment and Support Allowance
- Find out what help you can get from the Scottish Welfare Fund
- What you can do if you've got problems with debts
- What you can do if you're struggling to pay your energy bills
- Help with your energy bills if you're older or disabled.