Nutrition for Body & Soul

New referrals in 2021

524 individuals plus their 111 family members aged over 16 and 212 children under 16 = 847

People in receipt of food deliveries in 2021

(includes those already on service at the start of the calendar year, hence the greater number than referrals received) 

732 individuals

155 adult dependents

299 under 16s

14 under 6 m

1200 Total beneficiaries

    At the start of the Covid19 crisis we identified the needs of our service users and began our emergency response service on 13 March as soon as it became evident that we serve a vulnerable group of people who are not able to leave home to do the shopping. Our adapted service is 

    • Continued dietary advice provided over the phone from our qualified dietitians to understand people’s situations and understand their dietary requirements.
      • Emergency grocery deliveries to people’s homes to ensure people have access to the right food based on their physical and cultural needs.
      •Providing additional household essentials such as toothpaste, soap and other basic essentials 
      • one-to-one social support through weekly telephone calls for those with no social network and experiencing poor mental health and isolation. 

    In the early part of the Covid19 crisis we saw a four-fold increase in referrals to our essential groceries service, the impact of which will continue to be felt in the next financial year.  

    Of the people who received our tailored nutrition services in this year,  

    72% were living well below the poverty line with an income of less than £100 per week. 
    74% had no income 
    53% were men living alone – one third aged over 50. 
    47% of households with children (80) were single parent households, these are primarily women with Black African or Caribbean ethnicity. 
    40% endured both financial hardship and critical health 
    37% had a late HIV diagnosis (CD4<350) 
    30% did not have an undetectable viral load, which makes them susceptible to other infections.

    Overview of 2021

    Throughout 2021 the ongoing effects of the pandemic has meant changes in our activities and models of service delivery.

    • We experienced a greatly increased level of service for grocery deliveries with 3,172 deliveries equating to 199,836 meal equivalents. We continue to support more than twice the number of people than in 2019 before the pandemic began.

    • Due to covid public health concerns our face-to-face meals through our Eating Together programme was provided at a reduced level. We were able to run a series of light lunches for smaller groups of people. There were 283 attendances at 37 sessions by 49 of some of our most socially isolated individuals. We have increasingly been aware of the impact that social isolation, loneliness and depression can have on people not just living with HIV but many of whom have multiple challenges within their daily lives (e.g. homelessness, insecure housing, no recourse to public funds, unemployment, housing evictions, food poverty, energy poverty and much more).


    • In order to address and better manage this during the pandemic we created a category of complex needs where many of our service users were provided further support with an extension of the time limited grocery delivery service beyond our normal 3 grocery deliveries. Currently we are supporting 27 complex service users in this way.


    • During the pandemic lockdowns our Kitchen Services Manager was redeployed to provide a potential weekly telephone call to our isolated service users – with 90 people receiving calls. In September 2021 we created a Volunteer Telephone Befriending Service with volunteers. Following training we currently we have 7 volunteers who ring one person once a week to provide a listening ear and support.


    • Our Eating Positively programme comprising of 4 sessions of nutritional theory and practice (cookery classes) is also being enhanced with the recent filming of cookery sessions. This will enable us to provide the programme online with real time sessions with our specialist HIV dietitians interspersed with recorded cookery sessions. We will be able to provide an improved offer with hybrid sessions and real physical sessions.


    • The ongoing impact of the pandemic has created delay in our move to our new kitchen and the development of our community café. We have undertaken the necessary refurbishment of kitchen and other areas and are ready to commence in 2022 once the public health situation allows it.


    • We have also been able to further support 19 mums with HIV with new born babies and infants up to the age of one year, with formula milk.

    Case studies and testimonials 

    “I cannot express how helpful you and the food chain have been for me during this very dark time. I am beginning to change my relationship with food. To take the time to prepare my meals although painful is very satisfying and even nurturing. And of course to have ingredients is amazing. I am already beginning to plan for next month.”

    “I would like to take the opportunity to give you and the team a massive thank you for rescuing my needs when it was at most critical.  If you had not intervened, I don't believe I would still be alive today.   I was drenched in suicidal thoughts days and nights and the Food Chain was incredible to help”.

    “The Food chain has done so much for me and I am ever so grateful your organisation was around. What would I have done without the weekly talks and kindness from you all and all the volunteers to help me move forward to a bad health spell and now I am manging it much better and healthier and feed myself nourishing non processed meals. It was the first HIV support service I accessed since 1994”

     Thank you for your support of The Food Chain