Food and essentials

Opening times of community food services over the Christmas period can be found on the Cambridge Sustainable Food website.

Healthy Start food vouchers

Regular vouchers can be provided by Healthy Start to help buy fruit, vegetables and milk if you’re on a low income, pregnant or have a child under four.

If you’re eligible for the Healthy Start scheme you can pick up free vitamins from the child and family centres across Cambridgeshire – including The Fields, Galfrid Road, and Arbury Community Centre, Campkin Road. Find out more on the Healthy Start website.

If you shop at Sainsbury's, you can also get a £2 a week top-up coupon on top of your Healthy Start food vouchers

For more information, please visit the Sainsbury's website.

Food hubs and foodbanks

If you are on a low income and have an unexpected crisis or an emergency that means you cannot afford food, we may be able to help by referring you to a foodbank.

Some foodbanks require referrals, but other food hubs do not require a referral.

View the local foodbanks on the Cambridge City foodbank website.

Cambridge Community Kitchen

Cambridge Community Kitchen provides hot, hearty, vegan meals for anyone who needs one, which can be delivered to your home.

FoodCycle Cambridge

FoodCycle Cambridge invites anyone for a warm meal, whatever your reason for needing one as the cost of living increases. Drop into St Andrew’s Street Baptist Church from 12.30pm on a Saturday. No matter your background, you’ll be greeted warmly by friendly volunteers.

The EDGE Café

The EDGE Café is running a £3 lunchtime deal that takes place on each Wednesday, called 'Cheap Wednesdays', to help with the cost of living crisis. For just £3 you can have a delicious, hearty and healthy EDGE made meal to see you through your day. 

For more information, and to see what's going to be served each week, please visit The EDGE Café Facebook page.

Emergency food in Cambridge

We support Cambridge Sustainable Food, which coordinates emergency food provision in Cambridge in partnership with Cambridge Food Poverty Alliance.

The Alliance represents over 25 organisations working on poverty alleviation in the city.

Cambridge Sustainable Food also advises on how to limit food waste at home.

OLIO- free food that would have been wasted

OLIO is an app that lists not needed food/non-food in Cambridge that would otherwise have been wasted.

You can request food and non-food items via the OLIO app.

Cambridgeshire Local Assistance Scheme

The Cambridgeshire Local Assistance Scheme (CLAS) supports people facing unexpected financial difficulties. CLAS can provide information, advice and practical support and assistance in times of exceptional pressure.

Following an assessment, you may be eligible for a CLAS award. The awards can be in the form of supermarket vouchers, energy vouchers, new white goods, decorating packs, beds, mattresses, recycled white goods and furniture. You can self-refer, contact CLAS directly.

Financial support from Cambridgeshire County Council

The Cambridgeshire Household Support Fund has been created to help people experiencing immediate financial hardship to pay for food and household energy bills. 

Free school meals

Children from households with lower incomes may be entitled to free school meals.

School children who are eligible for free school meals are entitled to a two-course meal worth approximately £2.30 for primary and £2.35 for secondary each day. 

Find out more and apply for free school meals on Cambridgeshire County Council’s website.

Although all Key Stage 1 children get free school meals, you should still apply, as your child’s school will get extra money called the 'pupil premium'.

If you claim Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support and we think your family may be entitled to free school meals, we'll let Cambridgeshire County Council know and they'll send you a form to apply.

Secondary school children who are entitled to free school meals might also qualify for help with school transport costs. See get help with your child’s school costs, for more information.

Holiday supermarket vouchers

In recent years, eligible families across Cambridgeshire have been able to receive school holiday supermarket vouchers from Cambridgeshire County Council.

This has previously been £30 during Christmas or Easter, and £75 during the summer.

Families can choose where to spend the vouchers from a number of eligible supermarkets.

Those eligible for the vouchers are pupils who meet the following criteria:

  • eligible for income related funded two-year-old education (aged 2)
  • eligible for income related Early Years Pupil Premium (aged 3 and 4)
  • eligible for income-related free school meals (4 to 16)
  • eligible for 16+ bursary (16 to 19)
  • receiving an Education, Health and Care Plan (up to 25)

Free holiday childcare including a meal

If your child is eligible for free school meals you can also access free childcare with a healthy meal over the Easter, Summer and Christmas holidays, subject to availability.

Find out more about Cambridgeshire County Council’s Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) Programme.

Free holiday lunches for children

We provide free lunches and activities for families with nursery or school-aged children in the school holidays, at various locations around Cambridge.

See free holiday lunches for full details. 

Cooking on a budget

Real Food Wythenshawe supports people who want to develop the skills and desire to cook inexpensive healthier meals from scratch. They also offer other money saving tips.

Free period products

No-one should have to go without period products.

If you are unable to afford period products you can access these at the council's community centres or at food hubs and foodbanks in the city.

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