Food support at our Basics Banks foodbanks

Edinburgh City Mission are continuing to operate a referral-only service to provide help for those in genuine need (updated on Tuesday 1/9/20) across our whole network, subject to the information below.  We will assess this over the coming days; in the meantime, new referrals are welcome. Please note that our services are provided for those who are in exteme financial crisis and have no other way of accessing food.

If someone has a cough or fever, or are living with someone who displays these symptoms, they can still be referred to us, but should not attend a Basics Bank.

There are a number of health issues that should be identified in the referral process:

If anyone has any of these health conditions, please state their health condition on the referral form in the section about "risks to client and volunteer safety", and phone our office (0131-225-9445) to discuss the referral with us. 

Anyone with a cough or fever should not, under any circumstances, attend a Basics Bank. 

Local agencies and practitioners such as doctors, support workers, social workers or church ministers who wish to refer families or individuals for food support at our Basics Banks can do so below.  You can also read testimonials from some of our current referrers below.

Referral Form

If you require emergency food without a referral, please click here.

Covid-19 Food Fund

At Edinburgh City Mission we are aware that the current crisis caused by Covid-19 and the Government’s regulations might increase the number of families referred to our Basics Banks, the number of people relying on our Soul Food Weekly meals and the needs of the refugee families that we support. Your contribution will be used to purchase food for these vulnerable families in our city. Our target will allow us to cover the estimated increase in the demand for the next couple of months.


Thank you for your support!



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A referrer from Criminal Justice - City Wide Service

“The reason I refer my clients to the Basics Bank, is due to the fact that my client may be very hungry, and may not have eaten for a period of time.  That is the first reason; secondly, Basics Bank provide my clients with support on a one to one basis, a friendly face that is interested in them, and not from a Professional point of view, which is really important.  The service provides my client with the opportunity to sit down, have a cup of tea, in a friendly and non-judgmental way; they are invited to come back, not only for essential food, but for the volunteer to meet with them again, where a relationship of trust and mutual respect is formed and where the client feels comfortable.

As the majority of my clients live in temporary accommodation, mainly Bed and Breakfasts, and where the Benefit system is difficult for them, they are often without money for long periods of time.  Clients have also suffered the added complications of having had their welfare benefits sanctioned, and can be without payment for up to 6 months.  The support from Basics Bank is essential for the client to source food and companionship at difficult times.“

Resource Worker


A referrer from Tenancy Support

“I refer people to the Basics Bank who I know are not in a position to buy food or enough food and the situation they are going through is not going to be resolved quickly. I also make referrals for emergency food provision for up to 3 days at the Trussel Trust.

The Basic Bank is a lifeline for people who are on a low income and, although working, can’t get through to payday or have lost work, been sanctioned, waiting for a Universal Credit payments or have had an unexpected expense.

The reason I find the Basic Bank helpful is that people can be referred for support for up to 6 weeks. This gives me time to work on more complex cases; Issues like helping get the right benefits in place, making support referrals, applying  for charitable grants the client may be eligible for or signposting clients to other services.  It’s not that I am thinking, ‘Oh the Basic bank will pick up the slack here and I am twiddling my thumbs.’ It is just that working through benefit issues or waiting for payday can be a long haul and take a long time. During this time it gives me peace of mind to know that at least people will have some food.

I have been making referrals to the Basic bank for about 5 years. Sadly the need for the service is growing as welfare reform takes hold and people’s wages are not keeping up with inflation. 

I wish we were not living in such a society where foodbanks were necessary but whilst this is the case I am grateful for the help and support available from The Basic Bank.”

Tenancy Support


A referrer from DTTO II

“Billy arrived at the DTTO II; he was very pale and unkempt.  Billy had been living in a furnished flat provided by the Council.  He suffers from mental health problems, and I had supported him to change his claim to Employment and Support Allowance.  Unfortunately, I was advised that he would have to wait up to 6 weeks to receive a payment and had been without any money for 2 weeks, when he arrived at the office.  I referred him to Basics Bank, highlighting his issues.  Billy was asked to attend a nearby Basics Bank that day and was provided with food, but more importantly, he was able to sit and have a chat to one of the many volunteers. 

He attended Basics Bank for 4 weeks, and once his payments were back in place, Billy asked if he could volunteer with Basics Bank, as he wanted to show his appreciation for the help that he had received when he was in need.  Billy is now volunteering with Crisis, where he sorts out all the food that will be delivered to Basics Banks around Edinburgh.”

Resource Worker


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