WITH the Cost of Living crisis continuing to tighten its grip on the British public, we’ve pulled together everything you need to know about Foodbanks to coincide with our latest campaign.

We understand that this is an incredibly difficult time for many, and some people may be forced into the necessity of using a foodbank.

For some people this will be a scary prospect and something they never thought they would have to resort to, however, we’ll cover everything you need to know about food banks in this story and how simple they are to use.

The Northern Echo: Kings food bank in Darlington Picture: SARAH CALDECOTTKings food bank in Darlington Picture: SARAH CALDECOTT

What happens if I need to use a foodbank?

Before you can use a food bank you will need to acquire a referral from your nearest Citizens Advice, a social worker, GP or Job Centre.

You can find your nearest Citizens Advice using this handy tool on the Citizens Advice website, where you can input your postcode.

Then all you need to do is tell them that you need to use a food bank, after which they will probably make an appointment to discuss your situation with an advisor.

An adviser will then ask you some questions about your income needs as well as check if there are any benefits you’re not currently claiming, as well as any local help you can get.

The advisor might also give you advice about budgeting and any debts you have, and will then refer you to your nearest foodbank if you’re eligible.

The Northern Echo: Kings food bank in Darlington Picture: SARAH CALDECOTTKings food bank in Darlington Picture: SARAH CALDECOTT

What if I can’t go to Citizens Advice?

You can ask for a referral from an organisation that is already supporting you, for example, a charity, school or children’s centre.

Your local council might also be able to tell you how to get a referral to a foodbank.

When you contact them, ask if there’s a local welfare assistance scheme that can help you as well as the food bank, which might mean you’re eligible for vouchers for things like clothes or petrol.

How do I use a foodbank?

Once you have been referred to a food bank, you’ll be given a voucher and tell you where the food bank is.

If the food bank is run by the Trussell Trust you can check the address on their website here.

You then just need to go to your nearest foodbank and exchange the voucher for a food parcel, which will be given by the foodbank.

The foodbank might also be able to tell you where to get advice about your income and spending.

If you’re living in a rural area and can’t afford to travel to the foodbank, it might be able to deliver, you can call or email to find out.

If the foodbank is run by a church or religious group, they will still help if you are not religious or from a different religion.

Foodbanks also hand out basic household supplies as well as food, such as toiletries, baby supplies and washing powder.

The Northern Echo: Kings food bank in Darlington Picture: SARAH CALDECOTTKings food bank in Darlington Picture: SARAH CALDECOTT

Can I use the foodbank again as much as I want?

If you needed a referral to use a foodbank, you’ll need to get another before going back to use it again.

Sometimes foodbanks might have a limited number of times you can visit, however, you can discuss this with your advisor if you’re still in need of help.

They will ask you some questions about why you still need to use the foodbank and will refer you if they agree it’s still the best way to help you.

Even if they can’t refer you, they’ll give you advice on debt or problems with benefits if you need it.

What if I don’t want to use a foodbank?

If you’re really against using a foodbank, then the best thing to do is approach Citizens Advice and try to speak to an advisor.

They will be able to give you other options and help so that you can afford food.

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