The purpose of this fact sheet is to help applicants that include responding to food insecurity and / or deliver activities that involve food provision prepare their applications to the Investing in Communities Fund, which is being delivered from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2026.
The Scottish Government takes a human rights approach to tackling food insecurity which seeks to prevent hardship through fair work, social security and reducing the cost of living. Where hardship does occur, we prioritise ‘cash-first’ responses alongside money advice to tackle the cause of hardship and reduce the need for food aid.
Help to access food can still be necessary, and we support community food activity that (1) engages with the Dignity Principles and (2) integrates money advice and wider wellbeing services, including through links to other local organisations.
Our work with community organisations has been shaped by the Dignity Principles developed alongside people with direct experience of poverty through an Independent Working Group. Applications that include supporting community food activity should demonstrate how their work engages with these principles. These are:
- Involve in decision making people with direct experience,
- Recognise the social value of food,
- Provide people with opportunities to contribute,
- Leave people with the power to choose.
These principles link closely with promoting community connection, health and wellbeing, providing inclusive and welcoming spaces where people are part of the decision making, can contribute and feel part of the community.
It is important that new food initiatives do not duplicate or undermine established community food activity and that they make strong links to wider services. Community involvement in designing and shaping activity is crucial.
Money advice and wider wellbeing services
Community food organisations can help to address immediate financial hardship and prevent future hardship by integrating or linking with welfare rights advice, income maximisation and crisis support like the Scottish Welfare Fund. Integrating or linking with holistic person centred support services can help meet the person’s wider needs and maximise wellbeing.
In line with the Dignity Principles, we would expect the following points to be considered in relation to a community organisation’s plans regarding food sourcing and provision:
Food quality and acceptability:
- How will this work ensure that the food meets people’s needs and preferences? How will people have the power to choose?
- If the organisation uses retail surplus and donations, what measures are in place to ensure this is reliable and acceptable?
Impact on local food systems:
- What is the likely impact of this project on local retailers, food producers and other community food settings?
- How is the organisation working in partnership to improve the sustainability of their food supply? (i.e. by working with local food producers and / or connecting their activities with the Sustainable Food Places network in the area)
We would also expect to see a clear food sourcing strategy and plan to contribute to sustainable food supply chains that support the local economy.
Food and activity provision during school holidays
Following the success of Get in to Summer 2021, the Scottish Government is investing a further £10 million in targeted activities and opportunities for children and young people in the summer holidays. Programmes will be coordinated locally by local authorities and integrate access to food, childcare and wider family support where needed.
Proposals to deliver holiday meals and activities should be aligned to local holiday activity plans. Organisations intending to deliver holiday based activities should contact their local authority in advance of submitting an application in order to ensure that any additional activities are complimentary to those which may already be being funded in their local area. The
following principles are also helpful to consider:
- Co-production with children, young people and families
- Local authority and third sector partnership working
- Inclusive, “poverty-proofed” provision
- Whole family engagement
- Promoting the social role of food
Moray Food Plus: Building Community Resilience
Moray Food Plus (MFP) have built on existing work to tackle food insecurity across the Moray area. This includes maintaining and expanding the number of community larders alongside delivering community meals and breakfast clubs that provide dignified food access. Their project has a number of wider wellbeing strands, including increasing the number of peer support parenting group sessions to build family resilience, and developing growing sites to tackle social isolation and improve mental health.
Involve in decision making people with direct experience
MFP design and deliver their services alongside people with direct experience of food insecurity. They run a regular focus group through which food larders that increase access to food were identified as a priority.
MFP considered the needs of those they engage with to provide support in a dignified manner and are providing choice through their network of community larders, with 25 currently in operation. MFP have been working with community organisations looking at evolving their community larders further.
MFP set up a mobile pantry in October 2021, and are working with larders at Forres, Keith and Lossiemouth to pilot development over the next year and enabling further targeted support.
Recognise the social value of food
Prior to the pandemic, MFP provided regular shared meals. They adapted this during 2020-21 in line with public health restrictions and continues to deliver a meals-on-wheels services. This included supporting the Elgin Elves to deliver 50 meals on Christmas day, and creating tea boxes which were distributed to people who would usually attend the Forres, Lhanbryde and Buckie community meals (50 per area).
Provide opportunities to contribute
MFP have been able to continue with outdoor gardening and food growing activities with distancing and wider health protections in place. People who participated commented on how much they looked forward to the sessions and that sometimes these were the only opportunities for meaningful engagement during the pandemic.
Leave people with the power to choose
MFP’s larders enable households to select food that meets their dietary needs and preferences. The larders are integrated in to wider services such as homelessness units and enable people to access food at a time that also suits them.
Access to wider support and financial resilience services
MFP have integrated active signposting across their activities which has helped direct people to wider services and ensures they get all the support they need. This has included the distribution of 500 money advice leaflets and an additional 500 “where to go for support” leaflets.
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