The Scottish Government uses the language of 'food insecurity' because it captures the full range of experiences ranging from worry regarding ability to afford food through to compromising on quality and quantity of food and experiencing hunger. We draw from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation's definition and from the work of Professor Elizabeth Dowler which recognises the social dimension and importance of being able to access food in ways which are common to a society.
Food banks are charitable or community organisations that distribute food parcels to people experiencing financial hardship. The two largest food bank networks in Scotland are the Trussell Trust and the Independent Food Aid Network. These networks represent many but not all food banks. Many community food and other organisations also integrate access to food and emergency food parcel provision alongside their wider activities.
The Scottish Government uses the term 'cash-first' as shorthand for access to emergency income (such as through the Scottish Welfare Fund and other discretionary supports) as the primary response to food insecurity. In order to prevent future hardship, this should be delivered alongside money advice services (including welfare rights advice and income maximisation).
Holistic support services
The Scottish Government uses the term 'holistic support services' to mean a joined-up approach to delivering services across sectors that is centred around wellbeing through meeting the whole needs of an individual or household. This includes services that meet financial, health, social and cultural needs.
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