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Food banks and other crisis help

This advice applies to Scotland

Check if you can increase your income

If you don't have enough money for food, check if you can increase your income and if you can get a crisis grant from the Scottish Welfare Fund.

You can get help and advice from a Citizens Advice Bureau or call the Money Talk Team on 0800 085 7145. An adviser can check that you're getting all the money and benefits that you're entitled to.

Coronavirus – help getting food

If you can't leave your home 

If you can't leave your home, for example because you're self-isolating, you can phone the Scottish government's national assistance helpline on 0800 111 4000 Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. 

The helpline 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. 

Emergency help from the Scottish Welfare Fund

If you need urgent help to pay for food because of coronavirus, you might be able to get a grant from the Scottish Welfare Fund.

Read more about crisis grants from the Scottish Welfare Fund.

Food banks

Some food banks are delivering food directly to people who can't leave their homes. Check with your local food bank to see what it's doing.

Other help

You might be able to get help to pay your bills or claim benefits if you have less money because of coronavirus.

Getting help from a food bank

You might be able to get emergency help with food from a food bank. Food banks are run by charities, churches and other community groups. A food bank that’s run by a church will still help you even if you’re not religious or have a different religion.

To get help from a food bank you may need to be referred with a voucher that you can exchange for food. The food bank will tell you where you can get a voucher in your area. 

Finding a food bank

 To find a food bank near you, you can try any of the following: 

  • check online to see if there are any local food banks you can go to and if they will need you to have a referral voucher or not
  • contact a Citizens Advice Bureau - they can help you find a local food bank and can also support you to get other help
  • check the Independent Food Aid Network's website for information about independent food banks in your area. Some of these will require a referral voucher and some won’t
  • check the Trussell Trust’s website to see if it runs a food bank near you. The Trussell Trust is a charity that runs a network of food banks in the UK. To get food from a Trussell Trust food bank, you’ll usually need a referral voucher. You can find out where to get a voucher on the food bank’s website
  • Contact your local council and ask if there is a food bank near you, and what other help may be available for example from the Scottish Welfare Fund.

Check if your bureau has a list of local food banks and what the referral process is.

Citizens Advice Scotland has produced guidance for bureaux about the provision of food parcels to clients and referrals to food banks. This is available on the bureau zone of the CAS website (sign-in required). 

If you can't get to a food bank

If you live in a rural area and can't get to a food bank, your nearest food bank might be able to deliver. Contact them to check.

Getting other emergency help

Find out more about other help you can get if you're struggling with living costs.

Ask your local council or Citizens Advice Bureau about other help that’s available in your area.

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