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Food Support

Due to the pandemic, more people than ever have been using Food Banks and other support to help their food budget stretch further, whilst also trying to eat a healthy diet.  There are various services across Nottinghamshire, such as Food Banks, FOOD Clubs, Community Supermarkets, Social Eating groups and the Council’s School Meals Service, which provides free school meals to over 22,000 children and young people.


Trussell Trust 2.jpgThe Trussel Trust which is responsible for nearly half the food banks in Nottinghamshire reported an 81 percent increase in people needing support from food banks at the end of March 2020 compared with the same time in 2019 with demand for food parcels from families with children increasing by 12 percent.

In 2018 15% of children in Nottinghamshire were living in low income families and although that is less than the England figure of 16.6%, we know that this equates to around 9 children in a class of 30.  We also know that lone parents families, black and minority ethnic families, older people, people with disabilities and people without their own transport are more likely to experience food poverty.  

Here on Notts Help Yourself we’ve updated the information to help signpost you to the relevant support.

Food Banks and Community Supermarkets


Food banks are a bit like supermarkets, but everything is free. They are for people who struggle to afford to buy enough food to eat and also provide basic items such as soap, toilet paper and sanitary products.
Some food banks are developing into Community Supermarkets, where rather than everything being free, items are offered at a much reduced cost.

Click here or on the icon below to see the list of Food Banks in Nottinghamshire

Food Banks







Food Bank Trussell Trust.jpg


Nottinghamshire Coronavirus Community Support Hub

The Nottinghamshire Coronavirus Community Support Hub brings together the many local volunteer groups offering help for those who are staying at home and having to self-isolate because of a positive Coronavirus test result or who find themselves without a regular support network and in need of help due to the ongoing pandemic.

FOOD Clubs

FOOD Clubs (Food On Our Doorstep)

FOOD Clubs are an initiative developed by national charities Family Action and Fare Share.  As part of the Trailblazer programme, Nottinghamshire County Council Public Health Team and the Children’s Centre Service are working with district and borough councils and community groups to set up 30 FOOD Clubs over the coming year.  Currently there are 8 established, but more will be added over coming months. There is a small membership fee to join the food clubs and you have to live locally to be eligable.

Family Action.jpg


Recipe Ideas from Family Action 

Our friends at Family Action, who we work with on the FOOD Clubs (Food on our doorsteps) have put together some healthy, protein packed meals, using contents that are regularly in the FOOD Club baskets.  They’re sure to get your taste buds tingling!

Find them at Recipe ideas - Family Action (

Free School Meals and Free Milk

Nottinghamshire County Council’s School Meals service provides healthy, nutritious meals and are a great way to keep children fit and strong. Packed with fresh and tasty, locally sourced ingredients, they meet high standards including many strictly regulated food assurance schemes.  Vegetarian options and special diets and allergies are also catered for.

All pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 in state-funded schools are entitled to receive a free school meal. Parents who receive qualifying benefits should still register for free school meals, as the school is able to claim Pupil Premium, which it uses towards enrichment and learning opportunities.

Free School meals and milk

For those unable to apply online they can phone 0300 500 80 80   

Free milk is available for:

  • children under the age of five in school or daycare
  • children receiving free school meals. The eligibility criteria for free milk entitlement is exactly the same as for free school meals. Where local authorities or schools provide milk, it must be free to children whose parents get the same support payments as for free school meals.

Find out more here

Healthy Recipes

Healthy and Affordable Meals

Case StudyFamily Meal Planner Recipe Book: Easy to follow recipes for the whole family







Nottinghamshire School Meals service have lots of ideas for healthy and affordable meals like this Firework Rocket Fruit Kebab.   

The video shows you how to make this healthy fruit snack in the shape of a firework rocket (there's also a firework milk experiment at 1 min 24 seconds)

Visit the School Meals Page for the full recipe and to find more recipe suggestions and videos


Healthy recipes from Your Health Your Way Notts 




Full Time Meals with Marcus Rashford and Tom Kerridge.  Low-cost and easy-to-make recipes and instructional videos can be found on the Full Time Meals Facebook and Instagram pages aimed at families to help tackle child food poverty so that "No child should ever go to bed hungry"


Eat well early yearsFirst Steps Nutrition logo

This recipe book provides some simple ideas for cost-effective recipes for the whole family, using minimal cooking equipment and skills. The recipes show appropriate portion sizes for a main meal (or dessert) for infants, children aged 1-4 years, children aged 5-11 years and for adults and older children. The recipes all use ingredients that can be purchased with Healthy Start vouchers.

Eat well recipe book [Printable].jpg








 There's lots more information on Health Eating in our Parent/Carer Zone: 0-4 Years | Notts Help Yourself 

Allergies:  We know that parents/carers of children with food allergies and intolerances are really careful about which food and ingredients they buy for their families.  Responsibility for making sure appropriate  substitutes in these recipes of known allergens lies with the parent/carer.

Love Food, Hate Waste

We all want to do our best to save money and using up left overs is a good way of making our money and our food shop go that little bit further. It is also better for the environment so it's a win, win!

Here are a few help tips and ideas to do just that.

Veolia.Food waste prevention tips from Veolia – Love Food Hate Waste

Veolia has worked with Nottinghamshire County Council to produce a ‘Nottinghamshire’s sustainable cookery book’.

Nottinghamshire residents share their top tips for using up leftovers and their favourite recipes for making the most of seasonal ingredients. Click here

There is also a range of seasonal use up, Recipe cards for the people of Nottingham, to help reduce food waste

For more information on Food waste reduction go to: Food Waste Reduction | Veolia Nottinghamshire




Here are a few tips to make you food last longer

How to freeze cheese

How to keep salad fresh

How to revive your veggies

How to store your bread

Social Eating Opportunities

There is a growing number of places in Nottinghamshire where Social Eating sessions take place.  This is where a meal is available at little or no cost.  It is often staffed by volunteers and run by local charities or churches and provides a great opportunity for people to get together to enjoy good food and company. 

Notts Church Coffee and Community Map link.jpg

Places of Welcome - are network of community groups providing places for everyone to feel safe, connected and able to contribute. They run at the same time every week and offer a cup of tea/coffee and a biscuit. They can be found in churches, libraries, pubs and community centres hosted by volunteers who also provide some local information.

Places of Welcome Interavctive Map link.jpg


The best place to find out where they are is to use this interactive map 

Healthy Start vitamins and food support

Health Start Scheme

Healthy Start is a national scheme providing vitamins and support with food for pregnant women and families (with children under four) on benefits and low incomes.

Eligible pregnant women and children are also entitled to free vitamins, vitamin tablets for women and vitamin drops for children. If you have a Healthy Start Card you'll need to show your card to get your free vitamins.

Healthy Start vitamins are important because:

  • 8% of children under five in the UK don’t have enough vitamin A in their diet.*
  • Families in lower-income groups tend to have less vitamin C in their diet.*
  • All pregnant and breastfeeding women and young children are at risk of vitamin D deficiency (teenagers, younger women and those from ethnic minorities are particularly at risk).*

*Source of information-Healthy Start website.

Children Centre Service


Collection Points at Children’s Centre Service buildings:

Within Nottinghamshire it has been agreed that women and families eligible for Healthy Start will be able to collect vitamins from their local Children’s Centre and those that are not eligible for the scheme will be able to purchase vitamins from the Children’s Centres at cost price.

For the nearest Children’s Centre see:  Find your nearest Children's Centre Service team | Nottinghamshire County Council

Healthy Start prepaid card:

People who are eligible receive prepaid card worth £4.25 per week; £8.50 when their child is under a year old.

To find out more about how the scheme will work go to:The new Healthy Start Scheme – Get help to buy food and milk (Healthy Start)

Find out more about what can be bought with Healthy Start prepaid card go to:'ll-get  

Lots of shops accept Healthy Start prepaid cards, including: NHS Healthy Start Leaflet [Printable].JPG

  • corner shops
  • food co-ops
  • greengrocers
  • market stalls
  • milk floats or vans
  • pharmacies
  • supermarkets

You can ask a retailer if they accept Healthy Start prepaid card.

How to Apply:

Go to the Healthy Start website and click Apply Now to get started online or follow the instructions on how to apply by email or phone. 

Eligibility Checker

You can use this quick and easy Healthy Start Eligibility Calculator to find out if someone can receive Healthy Start prepaid card.

HOT (Healthier Options Takeaways)

Healthier Options Takeaways (HOT)

HOTs are committed to offering healthier ways of preparing, cooking or serving food and drink to their customes.

The scheme, run by Nottinghamshire County Council and District and Borough Council partners, is aiming to increase the amount and variety of healthier options in takeaways across Nottinghamshire.

You can find a participating HOT provider near you by searching the HOT directory

Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) for Summer

Holiday activities and food

Holiday Activities and Food Spring 2022

The Holiday Activities and Food programme (HAF) aims to support the wellbeing of children aged between 5 – 16 years by providing a variety of activities and food during school holidays. In 2022 we will be offering activities and food during Spring (Easter), Summer, Autumn (October) and Winter (Christmas) holidays across the county.

Free activities and food are available to 5-16 year olds receiving benefits related free school meals. Visit our website or contact us to find out more about eligibility: Holiday activities and food | Nottinghamshire County Council

Call: 0300 500 80 80


Find Us on Facebook

Facebook is monitored during office hours Monday - Friday, however if your enquiry is serious, urgent or involves personal details, we advise you to contact the team on 0300 500 80 80 or: Contact us | Nottinghamshire County Council

Follow Us @NottsCC


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