Cost of living: Food insecurity and poverty

In this section you can find case studies and resources around programmes assisting households who are unable to afford sufficient food for a healthy diet.

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Barnsley Council: Addressing food insecurity with a new food hub

Barnsley Council have established Storehouse and Field, a community food hub which aims to provide access to high quality ingredients for people who may be experiencing moderate food insecurity.

Barnsley Council: Addressing food insecurity with a new food hub

Bradford Council: Buy in Bradford Food Voucher Scheme

The Buy in Bradford food voucher scheme was launched in response to the growing numbers of people in food poverty in the city. It established a network of retail outlets across the district where customers could collect food using the vouchers, as well as providing recipe ideas for healthy meals.

Bradford Council: Buy in Bradford Food Voucher Scheme

Colchester Borough Council: Council pledges £25,000 to local food banks

Colchester Borough Council’s Cabinet has pledged to help local food agencies as they face drops in donations and rising demand, as they support the people of Colchester through the cost-of-living crisis. Support totalling £25,000 will be given to Colchester Foodbank (£10,000), BOAZ Outreach Project (£5,000), North Essex Support Team (£5,000) and Anti Loo Roll Brigade Colchester (£5,000).

Council gives funding support for food agencies | Colchester Borough Council

Coventry City Council: Mapping social supermarkets, food hubs and foodbanks

Coventry Council have responded to increasing food insecurity by mapping out local access to affordable and free food. All social supermarkets, food hubs, and foodbanks have been identified at a hyper-local level and made into a user-friendly interactive map, that is available on the council webpage and Google Maps.

Coventry City Council: Social Supermarkets, Food Hubs and Foodbanks map

East Suffolk Council: ‘Ease the Squeeze’

East Suffolk Council has worked with partners across sectors, through a series of workshops, to develop a wide reaching programme to support local residents with the rising cost of living.

East Suffolk Council: ‘Ease the Squeeze’

Eastbourne Borough Council: £250,000 cost of living emergency grant scheme 

Eastbourne Borough Council has announced a £250,000 ‘cost of living emergency grant’ scheme that will deliver an immediate payment of £20,000 to Eastbourne Foodbank, with one thousand local people benefitting. The emergency grant will enable Eastbourne Foodbank to directly support even more people who have fallen into food and fuel poverty.

Council announces £250,000 cost of living emergency grant scheme - (

Leeds City Council: Healthy Holidays in Leeds

The Healthy Holidays scheme provides activities and food over the Easter, Summer and Christmas holidays to vulnerable children, primarily those eligible for Free School Meals.

Leeds City Council: Healthy Holidays in Leeds

Leeds City Council: Leeds Food Aid Network

The is a strong partnership approach to tackling food insecurity in Leeds, crucial to the city's response to the pandemic.

Leeds City Council: Leeds Food Aid Network

Lewes District Food Partnership: Partnering with Lewes District Council to develop a food security strategy

Lewes District Council have recently committed to developing a district wide food security strategy, in conjunction with their Lewes District Food Partnership and Emergency Food Network.

Lewes District Food Partnership: Partnering with Lewes District Council to develop a food security strategy

London Borough of Islington: Universal Free School Meals and school uniform grants

Islington Council provides universal free school meals to children at all maintained nursery and primary school pupils in the borough. If a child is an Islington resident and is eligible for free school meals, they're eligible for the uniform grant as well. The Council will pay £150 to help meet the cost of school uniforms when the child transfers to secondary school from year 6. The London Boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Southwark and Newham also offer universal free school meals for children in nursery or primary school.

Free school meals and uniform grant | Islington Council

The London Borough of Lewisham: Working with partners to address food poverty

The London Borough of Lewisham is making tackling food poverty a priority in the recovery from the pandemic. The Council is already working with local groups to create social supermarkets from the food banks and networks that sprang up during the pandemic. It is now building on this work.

London Borough of Lewisham: Working with partners to address food poverty

London Borough of Merton: Community Fridge & Food Response Network

From October 2021 - May 2022, Merton’s Community Fridge Network saved over 27,200kg of food from going to waste, equivalent to 58,600 meals and 77,300kg of CO2, a good example of the positive impact a community can have when residents, businesses and organisations come together to take action on food insecurity and climate change.

London Borough of Merton: Community Fridge & Food Response Network

Nottinghamshire County Council: Improving access to affordable and nutritious food

Families with young children in Nottinghamshire are being supported with the cost of living through a network of FOOD (Food On Our Doorstep) Clubs. The clubs provide more affordable access to healthy ingredients as well as supporting families to cook and prepare family meals. 

Nottinghamshire County Council: Improving access to affordable and nutritious food

Oldham Council: Food and green spaces in Oldham

Oldham Council's vision is to be Greater Manchester’s "inclusive economy capital", by making the most of local assets and resources, including local purchasing, supporting local small and medium enterprises, and working with the community and voluntary sector. This ethos can be seen in their work on food and green spaces, crucial to the health and wellbeing of residents.

Oldham Council: Food and green spaces in Oldham

Sheffield City Council: Automatically enrolling children to Free School Meals   

In a bid to increase Free School Meal (FSM) take up in Sheffield, the Council decided to introduce automatic enrolment to the scheme. Using existing Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction data, the team follow an ‘opt out’ rule meaning that those not aware of their entitlement can still benefit from the offer. The council reports that they have significantly increased FSM uptake in the area, which in turn has created additional Pupil Premium Funding to help reduce the gap in attainment between children from higher and lower income households.

This move contributes towards the aims of the Sheffield Tackling Poverty Framework and to broader goals around improving public health and decreasing socioeconomic inequalities.

Sheffield City Council: Free School Meals

Wiltshire Council: Holiday Activity and Food programme (FUEL)

Wiltshire Council are delivering the Department of Education’s Holiday Activity and Food programme, which is branded locally as FUEL (Food, Unity, Energy, Laughter).

FUEL is a free holiday activity and food project that offers participants the opportunity to take part in a range of fun activities during the Easter, summer and Christmas school holiday periods. To be eligible to attend the programme children must receive benefits related free school meals, be of school age and either be a resident of Wiltshire or attend a school in the county.

Participants will be able to enjoy a variety of high quality activities when attending the a FUEL camp, including a range of enriching activities such as arts, football, dance, drumming workshops, team games and fun healthy eating workshops. All participants will also receive a nutritious meal on each day they attend the programme.

FUEL programme - Wiltshire Council