Skip to main content
Luton Borough Council

Help with food and healthy eating

Food First Luton 

A local initiative to promote access to food and the support available in Luton to help those in need and provide a forum to share good practice and partnerships.

I-phone showing map of community food spaces in Luton 

If you're struggling to feed yourself or your family, there are organisations that can help. They're used by hundreds of families every week in Luton, from all walks of life.

As growing numbers of people need support to feed themselves and their families, we want to make it easier to get help, sharing where you can find food suitable for you and your family.

Our interactive map shows community food spaces in Luton.

Visit Find Food Luton

Open all

More than just a meal

If you have children at school in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2, they are entitled to Free School Meals whatever your household income is.

From Year 3 onwards, your children could get free meals at school if you receive means-tested benefits, including Universal Credit, or if you have no recourse to public funds for any reason and have a low income.

If you receive benefits it is important that you apply for free school meals, even if you don’t want your child to receive a free meal.

If your child is eligible for Free School Meals, they'll also qualify for the supermarket vouchers during the holidays and the Holiday Activity and Food Programme (HAF).

Schools also receive extra government funding for every child registered as eligible for a free school meal. This is can be up to £1,320 per pupil.

Find out if your child is entitled to free school meals and apply

Visit our free school meals webpage

Supermarket vouchers during school holidays

Families with children who get free school meals will receive a supermarket voucher for each child during the school holidays.

This means families can purchase food over the holidays to replace the meals a child would have received during a school day. The voucher provides a great choice to families as they can be used in:

  • Aldi
  • Asda
  • M&S
  • McColl's
  • Morrisons
  • Waitrose
  • Tesco

If you have already registered your child and they are entitled to free school meals in Luton, you will automatically receive your voucher from your child's school.

If you do not receive a voucher, please contact your child's school.

Those families who are in receipt of benefit-related free school meals can book school aged children, from Reception to Year 11, into HAF funded activities.

Activities are free to access and include enjoyable activities and a healthy meal. They will run during Easter, summer, and Christmas school holidays.

To find out about the activities available in Luton please visit Active Luton.

Healthy Start supports pregnant women and young families to eat well and get the vitamins they need for healthy development, helping you give your family the very best start in life.

Healthy Start prepaid card

If you're pregnant or have a child under 4, you may be entitled to get help to buy healthy food and milk.

You could receive £8.50 per week if you have a baby aged under one year, £4.25 per week if you are pregnant, and £4.25 for each child aged under 4 years old.

You can use this to buy from local shops:

  • plain cow’s milk – whole, semi-skimmed or skimmed. It can be pasteurised, sterilised, long life or UHT
  • plain fresh or frozen fruit and veg (fruit and vegetables with no added ingredients), whole or chopped, packaged or loose
  • infant formula milk that says it can be used from birth and is based on cow’s milk

All pregnant women under 18 are entitled to both free vitamins and a Healthy Start prepaid card.

Apply for your Healthy Start card

Free vitamins

If you’re pregnant or trying for a baby, are a mum with a baby under 1 year and/or have children under 4 years. These include:

  • multivitamins formulated especially for pregnancy and motherhood
  • vitamin drops formulated for babies and children

You can use your Healthy Start card to get vitamins for free.

If you're not eligible for Healthy Start you can:

  • buy the Children’s Vitamin Drops for £2
  • buy Mother’s Vitamin Tablets for £1

You can buy or claim Healthy Start vitamins from our Flying Start centres at certain times:

  • Park Town Centre (LU1 3DU)
    • Mondays to Thursdays: 9am to 3pm
    • Fridays: 9am to 12pm
  • Centre in Foxcubs Nursery (LU1 1TZ)
  • Centre in Pastures Way Nursery (LU4 0PE)

You can also purchase Healthy Start Vitamins from Active Luton centres at certain times:

  • Hightown Community Sports and Arts Centre (LU2 0JD) (01582 419548)
    • Mondays and Wednesdays: 11am to 4pm
  • Lea Manor Recreation Centre (LU3 3TL) (01582 599888)
    • Monday to Friday: 11am to 4pm
    • Saturday: 10am to 1pm
  • Lewsey Sport Park (LU4 0PF) (01582 604244)
    • Monday to Friday: 11am to 4pm
    • Saturday: 10am to 1pm

A foodbank is for anyone in crisis, who does not have enough money to buy food for themselves or their family.

When you use a foodbank, you will be given enough food to feed yourself and your household for about three days.

The food banks that operate in Luton are listed below:

  • Luton Foodbank - if you can't afford food, you can arrange an assessment to find out if you qualify for a food voucher.
  • Azalea - if you need food come along to a Drop-in session, and pick up some essentials. Female guests only.
  • Blessed is our Hands Luton - provides food parcels to the vulnerable, isolated, elderly, disabled, job loss and low income families.

With increased demand for foodbanks, donations from the public are more important than ever. If you are able to provide non-perishable groceries such as cereal, soups, pasta, tinned foods, UHT milk and more.

Find your nearest Luton Foodbank drop-off point or how to donate money.

If you are in urgent need of support to access food, please visit Luton's Find Food website, to find your nearest community organisations providing food near you.

There are lots of ways to save money and make your food go further.

Helpful tips

  • Beans: adding tinned lentils or beans to meat dishes can make your meal go further, and is a cheap protein.
  • Soak your grains: items such as pasta, rice, noodles, bulgar wheat and cous cous can be soaked in water in the fridge overnight or for a few hours before cooking. This reduces cooking time.
  • Freezer: the freezer is your friend! frozen vegetables and herbs can often work out cheaper, and reduces waste.
  • Smaller bites: cutting meat into smaller pieces makes it go further in your meals.
  • Batch cook: if you know there’s a meal the whole family love, make extra! You can keep leftover portions in the fridge or freezer to reheat at another time. This will save on energy used to cook, and save time for some of those busy days

Make the most of your food, with some simple recipes, tips and guidance.

Good food habits

Try a few simple things as part of your weekly routine and you’ll quickly see how with just a few small actions you can make a real difference to your pocket. Find easy ways to stay in control of your food shop, make it easy to remember what food you have at home and ideas on prompts to ensure all the food you’ve bought is eaten - plus much more.

Visit the Love food hate waste web and read the good food habits.

Food date labels

Food date labels

  • Food portion calculator: if unsure about the right portion size for each food that you cook?, you can use the food portion calculator to find out how much you need to buy or cook.

Low-cost schemes to avoid food waste

There are now several food waste apps where you can find perfectly good food that would otherwise be destined for landfill, at much lower cost.

  • Olio is an app that gives you the chance to collect free food locally from people and businesses that don’t need it.
  • Too Good To Go app: every day, delicious, fresh food goes to waste at cafes, restaurants, hotels, shops and manufacturers, just because it hasn’t sold in time. This app lets you buy and collect this food at a low price so it gets eaten instead of wasted.

Retail discounts and offers

Supermarkets including ASDA, Sainsbury's and Morrisons are offering discounts and offers. Find out more via Help for Households.

© 2024 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ