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Food and essentials

Help with food and health costs

Food costs help and advice

  • Find out the location and opening times of your nearest food bank/food hub through our dedicated foodbanks webpage.
  • OLIO is an app that lists 'not needed' food/non-food in Cambridge that would otherwise have been wasted. You can request food/non-food items via the OLIO app.
  • With the Too Good To Go app you can search for unsold food near you and buy it at a reduced rate. You will need to then pick up the food. Major supermarkets and smaller shops are taking part in this initiative, and, like the OLIO app, it was featured on ITV.
  • Cambridge Sustainable Food advises on how to limit food waste at home. 
  • Discounts and offers include groceries, retail, utilities and entertainment.

Cambridgeshire's Local Assistance Scheme (CLAS)

Cambridgeshire’s Local Assistance Scheme provides information, advice and practical support and assistance in times of exceptional pressure and unexpected financial difficulties. 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. 

Healthcare costs help and advice

  • Check your eligibility for free healthcare help from the NHS.  They can offer help with (amongst other things) prescriptions, dental needs and glasses. 
  • You can plan healthcare by using the Personal Health Budget (PHB) to buy services and equipment that best meet your needs, and help maintain your independence.
  • If you rely on medical equipment, refrigerated medicines, or have children under five in your household, the UK Power Networks Priority Services Register will ensure that you receive extra support when you experience a power cut.
  • Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS): If you're referred to hospital or other NHS premises for specialist NHS treatment or diagnostic tests by a doctor, dentist or another primary care health professional, you may be able to claim a refund of reasonable travel costs.

Healthy start vouchers

  • Pregnant women receive one voucher a week worth £3.10
  • Babies under the age of one get 2 vouchers a week worth a total of £6.20
  • Each child aged over one and under 4 receives one voucher a week worth £3.10

Vouchers are posted out every 4 weeks. These can be spent in a wide range of participating local shops and greengrocers, as well as supermarkets.

Women more than 10 weeks pregnant, and families with children under 4 years old, qualify for Healthy Start if the family is receiving:

  • Income support, or Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit (but not Working Tax Credit unless the family is receiving Working Tax Credit run-on only, which can be received in the 4 weeks after a person has stopped working for 16 hours or more per week).
  • Women also qualify for the whole of their pregnancy if they are under 18 when they apply, even if they don’t get any of the above benefits or tax credits.

Apply online

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