Free school meals: Where to get help in Barking and Dagenham

Barking and Dagenham runs community food clubs which could help parents put food on the table this half term. Picture: Ken...

Barking and Dagenham runs community food clubs which could help parents put food on the table this half term. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

Parents struggling to put food on the table this half term may be entitled to free school meals – here is where to find help.

Barking and Dagenham Council runs four community food clubs where members receive fresh food for free each week as well as an offer of support with finances, debts and arrears.

The service is open to children on free school meals and their families. There are currently 197 households which are registered and visit weekly.

There is a food club at William Bellamy Children’s Centre in Frizlands Lane, Dagenham, open every Monday from 11am to 4pm. Telephone 020 8724 1983.

There is a second at Marks Gate Community Hub in Rose Lane open Wednesdays from 11am and 1pm. Email

A third is at the Sue Bramley Children’s Centre in Bastable Avenue, Barking, which runs between 12pm and 2pm on Fridays. Call 020 8724 1983.

There is a fourth club at Barking Learning Centre in Town Square which is open on Tuesdays from 12pm to 4pm. Telephone 020 8724 8725.

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The town hall’s community food clubs have helped save people almost £8,000 since April this year.

The £3.50 weekly membership fee was waived in April in response to the pandemic. More than 50 referrals a month are made to other agencies to help people in the borough get back on their feet.

To find out more about how the scheme works visit

Besides food clubs, there are a number of organisations offering free lunches during half term.

To find out more contact either Dagenham food bank at 104 New Road (020 8595 0122) or Barking food bank, which operates out of Elim Church in Axe Street. Telephone 0208 617 0660.

If you are on a low income or receive child benefit and others including child tax credit, income support or universal credit, you could claim free school meals for your child.

For a full list of qualifying benefits and more information about the scheme visit:

Is your business or organisation offering free meals this half term? Email with the details to be added to this story.

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