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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Community approach key to ending reliance on foodbanks, government told

This news post is over 1 year old

Where help to access food is needed, this should be provided in a way that maximises dignity, choice and reduces future need

Charities from across the country have come together to urge the Scottish Government to help bring services closer to communities to help end food insecurity. 

The Everyone Home collective, formed during the early months of the pandemic to protect progress that was made on issues around homelessness and prioritise action that can be taken together, has set out a joint response to Holyrood’s food banks consultation.

The draft plan for ending the need for foodbanks, which closes to submissions tomorrow (Tuesday), was prepared by the government’s Tackling Food Insecurity Team with full details to be published later this year.

The 36 organisations making up the Everyone Home collective have said where help to access food is needed, this should be provided indoors in a way that maximises dignity, choice and reduces future need. 

The group’s submission sets out three key points of interest guiding its response to the consultation, underlining that poverty is the primary driver for homelessness in all its forms, with child poverty a powerful predictor of adult homelessness.

The homelessness third sector in Scotland has a long history of food provision and has valuable learning and experience to share, the charities said - with the benefits of prepared and shared food, as well as the the need for social interaction, marked as key.  

Everyone Home’s submission said help to access food and end food insecurity should be factored into the design of the 20-minute neighbourhood policy in Scotland as communities are best able to determine whether this type of service is needed in their area. 

The charity Move On is the delivery partner for FareShare Glasgow and the west of Scotland, which takes good-quality surplus food from retailers and suppliers and distributes it to community groups or charities.

The group’s executive director, John Hinton, said: “Along with our partners in Everyone Home, we have long recognised the importance of properly prepared food, which can be shared in a suitable environment firmly embedded in communities. 

“We are pleased to add our voice to the calls to ensure that whatever arrangements replace food banks meets the needs of people affected by homelessness and destitution.

“We are committed to linking people with wider supports and services to address the underlying issues contributing to food insecurity.” 

Cyrenians work with community partners to deliver community pantries in seven locations across Edinburgh. 

To promote dignity, the pantries are open to the whole community with no referrals or joining criteria required and offer a range of fresh, chilled and ambient foods in exchange for a £1 fee.

Lynne Collie, senior manager of Good Food from Cyrenians, said any changes put forward from the consultation should factor in the charity’s pantry approach. 

She said: “By maximising choice and control we can ensure access to food is done so with dignity, whilst also providing added benefit through further opportunities for volunteering and training.” 

Maggie Brunjes, chief executive of Homeless Network Scotland - which co-ordinates the collective - said: “Sitting at the heart of Everyone Home’s response is the need for dignity and choice. 

“Income inequality is the primary driver for both homelessness and food insecurity. Every household in Scotland should have enough money to remove the need for food banks and where help is needed this should be cash-first with rapid access to cash to financial assistance and money advice.”



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