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Project information

Food as medicine

Tailored packages of nutritional support for people living with HIV & AIDS in London. This may include home-delivered meals, groceries, dietetic advice, communal meals or specialized cookery classes. Delivered to men, women and children affected by HIV by a network of volunteers.


Charity information: The Food Chain

The Food Chain logo
  • Need


    Everybody who receives our services has been identified by a health or social care professional as at risk without nutritional intervention. Our service users are often face a range of complex issues alongside their HIV status, these include poverty, isolation, depression, dependency, uncertain asylum status, disability or mobility issues.


    The Food Chain breaks this cycle by providing people with access to nutritious food in their most difficult days and giving them the tools to stay well long term.

    Good nutrition is vital for people living with HIV. Antiretroviral drugs can control HIV infection, but without a diet of good food, the immune system cannot effectively rebuild itself protect itself from infections, weight loss and muscle wasting.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To safe-guard the nutritional intake of the most vulnerable people living with HIV in London.


    » The provision of a home-delivered meal which is tailored to meet their nutritional needs and personal / cultural preferences
    » A weekly communal meal service for isolated individuals living with HIV.
    » Dietetic counseling delivered by telephone to give people the individual advice they need to improve their health.
    » Specialised cookery and nutrition advice helping people learn more about managing their own HIV.

    What success will look like

    For individuals to manage their own health long-term by providing emergency food support alongside tools to manage long-term changes.

  • Impact


    Good nutrition is vital to:
    - Counteract the debilitating effects of weight loss
    - Maximise the body’s ability to fight infections
    - Ensure proper absorption and effective use of prescribed medications
    - Help to build strength to enable continued participation in daily activities.

    As part of the package of support we give specialised dietetic advice and offer people the chance to learn more about healthy eating and cooking to manage their own health long-term.


    The rising cost of food and the current reductions in other services mean we anticipate a growth in demand for these services at a time when funding is harder to secure. The move to our own premises allows us to look at new ways of sourcing food to reduce costs.


    Funders receive an annual report on all our services and a monthly e-newsletter detailing ongoing and forthcoming activities, and any changes that have been made to the project plans.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £942,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £180,000 Meal service food, containers, volunteer costs
      £542,000 Grocery service food, volunteer costs, staff coordination
      £101,000 Cookery classes food, staff and volunteer costs, promotion
      £119,000 Communal meals food, staff and volunteer costs, promotion

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Anon trust £160,000 Conditional
    Anon Trust £38,000 Conditional
    Anon trust £84,000 Conditional
  • Background


    The project is run from three borrowed kitchens across London and our own kitchen at King's Cross.


    In total this project will support over 1,000 people affected by HIV. Many of the people we support have complex needs and may be battling poverty, dependency or mental health issues.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The Food Chain have been delivering meals to people living with HIV for over 25 years. Thanks to the dedication and skills of our volunteers a grant to The Food Chain will go a long way. We support people with their immediate needs to get the food they need, and provide them with tools to make long term changes to managing their condition.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Siobhán Lanigan

    Siobhán has 14 years experience in particular of services for refugees and asylum seekers, older people and young people.

What does The Food Chain do?

I don’t have enough words of praise for the Food Chain. It gave me a helping hand that pulled me out of misery.