7 insurance considerations when setting up a Foodbank

Thinking of starting a ministry to provide food supplies in your community? Our Head of Insurance, Barry Walker, shares his tips for things to think through before you do so.

Foodbanks are designed to help individuals and families in crisis to access free emergency food, usually for three days.

Food can be donated by members of the public, and referral agencies such as Social Services, Health Visitors, Probation Officers and Church Pastoral Workers issue food vouchers which can be exchanged for emergency food and toiletries. 

Foodbanks are a great way for churches to show God’s love and compassion to those struggling within their communities, but what should you consider before your church opens one?

If you are thinking of setting up a Foodbank, it is crucial that you contact your insurance provider to check that you would be covered. The following list of considerations is a good place to start:

1. Make sure your liability covers will apply

Your church may well have employer’s and public liability cover, but it will be important to make sure that this will apply in the context of a Foodbank.

2. Check your contents cover

Running a Foodbank may well entail housing equipment and stock on the church premises in a way that wasn’t needed before. It’s worth check with your insurer whether your existing policy will cover this.

3. Assess your risks

You should complete a written risk assessment of the activities surrounding the running of the Foodbank, as well as updating your fire risk assessment to take account of this new ministry.

4. Protect your volunteers

The logistics of a Foodbank are bound to require your volunteers to be lifting and moving stock. Make sure you train them in manual handling and that any equipment, such as stepladders, is in good working order and safe to use.

5. Food delivery

Will your Foodbank deliver parcels to service users? If so, you’ll need to check that the insurance of any vehicles used will cover this type of usage.

6. Protecting valuables

When welcoming in members of the public, it’s advisable to restrict this to one area of the building and prevent access to other main areas. You might also consider removing any valuable property from the areas that will be accessible.

7. Managing food stocks

To ensure the quality of the food being provided, make sure all non-perishable food is regularly rotated and kept within date. If you do handle perishable food, it needs to be within its sell by date and food hygiene standards must be observed.


If you are thinking of starting a Foodbank and would like to discuss your specific requirements, we would be delighted to chat to you. Get in touch with our friendly insurance team today on 0115 921 7270 or via the ‘Get in touch’ form at the bottom of this page.

For more information on Trussell Trust Foodbanks, visit http://www.trusselltrust.org/

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