Information

Fair Food Transformation Fund: independent review

Fair Food Transformation Fund (FFTF) was set up to support initiatives aimed at reducing food poverty and reliance on emergency food aid.

This document is part of a collection


Appendix 3: FFTF Case Studies

The following appendix details the purpose, strengths, issues and impacts of each of the case study projects. All following observations were made in the period during which data collection took place.

Name:

Kate’s Kitchen

Location:

Annan, Dumfries and Galloway

Amount of FFTF funding:

£44,160

What the project did

Kate’s Kitchen was created by Annan Churches Together, a group of five churches in Annan. It began as a soup kitchen open one day a week but quickly expanded. Currently the project is open four days a week and provides a range of activities, groups and opportunities to participants.

Activities/events/groups

Facilities

  • Community meals
  • Gardening group
  • Arts and crafts group
  • Social events e.g. Burns Night, Christmas meal, Bingo
  • Food parcels
  • One-to-one support work
  • Healthy Eating group
  • Cooking classes
  • Certified training e.g. food safety,
  • One-off projects e.g. mosaic making
  • Team meetings (incl. volunteers)
  • Outdoor space including polytunnel, raised beds and a potting shed
  • Kitchen
  • Seating area for community meals and café
  • Second room recently opened as alternative sitting space
  • Private room for support worker sessions
  • Private room for food bank

Project strengths and achievements

Through use of local knowledge and a bottom up approach, Kate’s Kitchen targeted unmet need, providing support that works for its participants. The project expanded as need was recognised, ensuring service delivery and activities are tailored to local context. When the project first began, the focus was on providing a weekly community meal. Staff quickly decided this was insufficient, and that people were in need of other, more holistic support. In response to this, they provided a food bank in addition to the meals, one-to-one sessions with a support worker, and meaningful opportunities to contribute. Regular team meetings ensure that the voice of those with direct experience of food poverty is being heard.

Kate’s Kitchen was successful in involving people with severe and complex needs in meaningful activities. Activities were split into many smaller tasks, allowing each volunteer a role, regardless of barriers, such as physical disabilities. Kate’s Kitchen enabled their participation by offering less physically demanding tasks, such as “slug watching” or finding answers to gardening questions using the reference library. All volunteers interviewed felt that they were contributing to something worthwhile, and that they had their own role to play.

Issues and challenges

Volunteers and participants made considerable, but gradual, individual progress. Some still required support from staff throughout the programme. Kate’s Kitchen is combatting this challenge by fostering relationships between volunteers and encouraging ownership and peer-led education. The project created an atmosphere of ‘help and be helped’. For example, within the gardening group, volunteers were paired up according to strength – more confident volunteers are matched with less confident volunteers. This enabled teaching between volunteers leading to faster progress for participants and a reduction in the pressure on staff. The relationships formed through partnering are contributing to the sustainability of the project as they are created new links in the community, for example, one volunteer said that, in exchange for them making a roast dinner, a volunteer has been assisting them with digging and planting in their garden.

While staff still encounter negative attitudes towards the project, they helped local people change their attitudes towards through outreach work and promotion. It was acknowledged that some members of the community thought Kate’s Kitchen was for “scroungers”, and that stigma around attending still existed. The creation of “Friends of Kate’s Kitchen” was successful in changing this perception. Members donated £5 annually to the project and attended meetings where they were informed about its progress. Testimonials from participants were found to be most effective in changing people’s attitudes, as they made their experiences more relatable and equipped people with stories with which they could defend Kate’s Kitchen to others. Staff were making Kate’s Kitchen relevant to people not directly involved in the project through an emphasis on how benefits to participants had a positive impact on the whole community.

Impacts

  • Greater food affordability - More people are growing their own food at home. Fresh vegetables are available free from the garden. Community meals and food parcels are free. Participants are learning to cook using new ingredients, increasing their choice of what they buy, which increases affordability.
  • Reduced social isolation/building community - Participants are forming relationships in the project that continue outside it. Participants with mental health conditions and learning disabilities are reporting reduced isolation. Community meals are felt to be social events.

Name

Central and West Integration Network (CWIN)

Location

Glasgow

Amount of FFTF funding

£48,482.75

What the project did

CWIN begun as a food distribution programme in 2012 with English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) classes added later. In late 2016, CWIN began weekly community meals with funding from the Fair Food Transformation Fund. Most clients attending CWIN are refugees or asylum seekers

Activities/events/groups

Facilities

  • Community meals
  • Volunteering
  • ESOL classes
  • Volunteer training
  • Food parcels
  • Steering group
  • Food bank
  • Office space
  • Dining area
  • Kitchen
  • Space for ESOL classes upstairs
  • Donated clothes stall

Project strengths and achievements

CWIN was successful in achieving its planned social outcomes, creating a more social atmosphere, uniting people of different nationalities and providing a space where refugees and asylum seekers are able to share their experiences with one another. Many participants felt an increased sense of community and gained confidence through community meals and ESOL classes. Several interviewees were refugees and asylum seekers who had moved to Glasgow with no family or friends. They saw CWIN as a space in which they could feel they were not alone in their experiences.

Wraparound services, such as ESOL classes, had been successful at CWIN because they were relevant and tailored to client need. They were also acting as effective hooks to participation in community meals. Those attending CWIN tend to be proficient in cooking. For them, it is not lack of knowledge around food, but lack of resources to apply that knowledge, that is the issue. Support outwith cooking is therefore more important to this client group. ESOL classes are timed at CWIN so as to end as the community meal begins. This is encouraging a flow of clients from ESOL classes to community meals and vice versa.

Issues and challenges

CWIN recognised that for their specific client group, emergency food provision is essential, and tried to improve the dignity associated with this. Many asylum seekers attending CWIN are unable to receive benefits or to work in the UK as their residency status has not yet been confirmed, meaning they are wholly reliant on CWIN food provision. As a consequence of this, food parcels will remain a necessary aspect of service delivery. This, in turn, presented a barrier for CWIN in transitioning to a more dignified model.

To overcome this, CWIN placed the collection point in a more discreet location within the broader project. Some participants still reported embarrassment around the use of this service and are keen to see greater sensitivity in the way documentation is checked by CWIN and greater choice in the food parcels.

CWIN have taken steps to formalise their use of volunteers by creating a volunteer rota. This was in response to concerns that volunteers faced uncertainty about when they were needed and had felt ignored in the past when CWIN had sufficient volunteers for particular activities.

Impacts

  • Greater food affordability - As noted above, many attending CWIN have no form of income. Community meals and food parcels are the only means of affording food for some participants

Reduced social isolation/building community - As noted above, there is a strong sense of community at CWIN. The project has enabled people who may not have otherwise met anyone, to make local friendships. Sharing experiences at CWIN means people feel less alone. Community meals are felt to be social events.

Name

Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust

Location

Bonar Bridge (East Sutherland and Edderton, Highland)

Amount of FFTF funding

£59,832

What the project did

Kyle of Sutherland established a community café and shop, with provision of lunchtime and evening meals, alongside a combination of other food and non-food-related activities. Outreach was a key feature of this project with staff on the ground engaging with the local community.

Activities/events/groups

Facilities

  • Growing groups
  • ‘Healthy cooking on a budget’ demonstrations
  • Volunteering
  • Volunteer training
  • Tenants group (with drop-in sessions)
  • Community meals
  • Food parcels
  • Musical performances
  • Arts and crafts group
  • Food distribution
  • Community hall with shop, kitchen, dining area, lounge and food storage area
  • Office
  • Community cafe

Project strengths and achievements

Kyle of Sutherland’s main strength was a focus on the social value of food. For many participants, food was secondary to the social aspect of the project. Several interviewees mentioned that there were few activities in their locality. Community meals and events provided by Kyle of Sutherland were uniquely filling this gap. It was felt that living in a small, rural town could be very isolating, and that Kyle of Sutherland had been successful in reducing this as an issue. The opportunity to eat in company was highly valued by several interviewees and was even improving mental health for some.

The high quality of meals is integral to the project’s success. Several respondents remarked on the high standard of food at Kyle of Sutherland. Some noted that this was their main reason for attending and why they continued to return after their initial visit. Others noted that the quality of the food made them feel provision was dignified. The high standard of meals was also making the project more sustainable. People felt that the meals were value for money and thus donated more if they could afford to.

Issues and challenges

By providing greater flexibility in food distribution, Kyle of Sutherland had been successfully responding to the issue of poor transport links in the local area. The rural location of Kyle of Sutherland and the lack of public transport prevented some people with mobility issues, or without access to a private vehicle, from accessing community meals and other activities. To resolve this, the project began to deliver food direct to people’s homes. This means that those experiencing food insecurity, but who are unable to get to the project, are not excluded.

Impacts

  • Greater food affordability - Those donating towards community meal costs feel that the food provides value for money. Community meals were free, reducing food costs for participants.
  • Reduced social isolation/building community - Many participants report that “company” is the main reason for attending. Interviewees who were retired, divorced or widowed felt that they had lost their network of support, and that Kyle of Sutherland had become a surrogate for this. There is a stronger sense of community locally, as people are recognising one another from the community meals.

Name

The First Base Agency

Location

Dumfries and Galloway

Amount of FFTF funding

£22,650

What the project does

Activities/events/groups

Facilities

  • Cooking and non-cooking food parcels
  • Recipe sharing (“meal of the week”)
  • Walled Garden Project for Veterans (growing vegetables)
  • Food distribution through collection points
  • CAB support
  • Carnsalloch Walled Garden
  • Main base
  • 20 satellite collection points

Project strengths and achievements

The First Base Agency was successful in reducing the stigma around food banks. This meant more people experiencing food insecurity are accessing support. The negative image of food banks locally had been acting as a barrier to their use. This had led some people experiencing extreme food poverty to go hungry. The First Base Agency was helping to change such negative perceptions of food banks. In doing so, the project lessened perceived barriers to accessing food. The First Base Agency is considered “non-judgemental” and as a “sympathetic ear”. Whereas another local food bank was believed to be for “for ex-offenders” only, First Base was seen as being for the whole community.

Flexibility in delivery and opening hours has made the project more accessible and extended its reach. While most food banks are only open for a few hours each week, The First Base Agency had more extended opening times. This enabled those living more remotely to access the service. The project offered delivery of food parcels direct to peoples’ homes, increasing access to provision. Home delivery added the benefit of being more discreet, increasing the dignity felt around food provision.

Issues and challenges

The availability of both cooking and non-cooking parcels offered greater choice and caters to a greater range of people and needs, but more choice was still desired. The option of non-cooking parcels means those without access to a cooker could still utilise the service. While this is a diversion away from the “typical food bank” offer, some felt this could be taken further. For example, some participants valued products, such as coffee and sugar, over food such as meat. The lack of choice was leading some to waste the food provided, which made them feel guilty. It is important to participants that more flexibility is offered as to what goes into food parcels in the future.

Impacts

  • Greater food affordability - Cooking and non-cooking food parcels were available for free, enabling participants both with and without access to a cooker to make use of these.
  • Reduced social isolation/building community - Home delivery engaged those most socially isolated in the community. Staff and volunteers were felt to be friendly and sympathetic, meaning participants feel looked after. All interviewees mentioned feeling less alone.

Name

Woodlands Community Development Trust (WCDT)

Location

Glasgow

Amount of FFTF funding

£33,895

What the project did

WCDT runs a free Pop-Up Community Café, with free vegetarian meals and a programme of cookery workshops. The café incorporated music and performances and used ingredients grown in the community garden. Volunteering and training opportunities were provided, including employability support. The project provided access to welfare advisors at each community meal.

Activities/events/groups

Facilities

  • Volunteer training
  • Volunteering
  • Cookery workshops
  • Community meals
  • CAB and employment support
  • Music workshops and performances
  • Support for older people
  • Lunch club for families
  • Community events e.g. Refugee Welcome event
  • Community café
  • Community garden
  • Social space with pool and tennis tables and a piano
  • Well equipped kitchen

Project strengths and achievements

WCDT was successful in creating a welcoming and friendly atmosphere for participants by establishing a long-term community of volunteers. It was common for volunteers at WCDT to stay for more than a year. This enabled them to build relationships with participants, who felt valued and safe as a result. Volunteers stayed because of the great opportunities available and the strength of the volunteer support programme. Through WCDT, volunteers can improve their employability, increase their confidence, gain new skills and feel looked after. Some volunteers moved into paid employment because of their engagement with WCDT.

This project demonstrated that food projects can be a good access point to other services. WCDT refers participants and volunteers into other organisations, giving them more holistic support and closing gaps in provision. Someone from CAB was present at every community meal, allowing participants to engage with this service.

Issues and challenges

Staff and volunteers overcame an initial resistance to healthy, vegetarian food by presenting it as positive and exciting, opening new possibilities for participants. WCDT provided healthy, vegetarian meals, regularly using foods that few participants have tried before. This is inspiring participants to extend their cooking repertoire, so increasing their eating choices. High quality, interesting meals also created excitement around healthy eating. Participants did not feel pressure to eat healthily or that they are being targeted for not, but rather that they had the choice to enjoy healthy foods if they wish to.

Impacts

  • Greater food affordability - WCDT decreased waste and increased choice for participants, contributing to greater food affordability. This was achieved in three main ways: food parcels are free, and participants can pick and choose their contents; participants are being shown what they can make with ingredients they receive; WCDT are introducing new foods to participants, increasing the foods they can use and the meals they can make
  • Awareness of other support and services - WCDT provided links to other support services, including employability help

Reduced social isolation/building community - Participants felt that the social aspect of WCDT is crucial. Participants explained that the welcoming, friendly atmosphere at WCDT makes people more likely to return. This enables participants to get to know one another.

Name

Pilmeny Development Project (PDP)

Location

Leith, Edinburgh

Amount of FFTF funding

£10,630

What the project did

New Spin was an intergenerational project within Pilmeny Development Project. Young people were referred into the programme by various agencies and took part in community meals and activities, including learning to cook. Volunteers are older members of the local community.

Activities/events/groups

Facilities

  • Intergenerational group including arts and crafts activities and cooking
  • Community meal (at the end of the intergenerational group session)
  • Trips
  • Food parcels
  • Food distribution
  • Nature walks
  • Kitchen
  • Social space
  • Offices
  • Rooms for other activities
  • Café facilities

Project strengths and achievements

New Spin was impacting positively on the local neighbourhood, creating a closer-knit community by reducing the hostility and fear felt between generations. Participants reported an initial shared lack of understanding between younger and older community members, which was rooted in a lack of opportunities to engage with one another. PDP provided a space in which different generations can interact, with both the younger and older people involved in the project now feeling more positive about each other.

PDP enabled those with multiple barriers to volunteer, including people who would otherwise be restricted by physical or mental health conditions. Many of the older volunteers have physical disabilities or mental health issues and the project allows them to engage as much or as little with the young people as they feel comfortable and capable doing. Tolerance and acceptance are emphasised, with each person having a different role to play. This meant that everyone could contribute in some way, becoming more involved at their own pace. Interviewees report positive changes in participants and volunteers with both mental and physical health conditions.

PDP provided a viable alternative to generic youth groups for young people with multiple disadvantages, who lacked the confidence to be part of these. Several of the young people attending PDP felt intimidated by their peer group. The project acts as a transitionary service, allowing young people to practice socialising in a space where they felt safer and more relaxed. Young people developed strong bonds with volunteers, viewing certain older people in the project as role models or mentors. For some, the volunteers are the only people to whom they open up.

PDP has been successful in providing food with dignity and in improving the diets of both younger and older members of the project. All members of New Spin, both young and old, were encouraged to take leftovers home after the meal. As this was universally provided, those who were experiencing food insecurity were not highlighted or singled out, removing the stigma attached to free provision. PDP ensures that all participants have a fresh, healthy meal at least once a week, and encouraged older people to begin cooking again out with the project.

Issues and challenges

Additional complex needs meant collecting personal information about participants, especially in a group setting, is challenging. Staff felt that the capacity and time to collect participant data is the main issue the project encountered.

Impacts:

  • Greater food affordability - Young people learnt how to make more food from scratch. Community meals were free, and participants/ volunteers could take any leftovers home
  • Reduced social isolation/building community - Older people in the community felt less isolated because of volunteering at PDP. Young people excluded from many mainstream activities could be involved in social activities at PDP.

Name

Pilton Community Health Project (PCHP)

Location

Granton, Edinburgh

Amount of FFTF funding

£76,842

What the project did

PCHP was set up in 1984 to address health inequalities. The organisation had a social approach to food, incorporating food provision into other activities and forms of support. PCHP had a focus on partnership, with strong links to other organisations and movements in the local area.

Activities/events/groups

Facilities

  • Cooking and food sessions and workshops
  • Specialised training
  • Counselling and one-to-one support
  • Developing and organising community meals
  • Supporting new projects
  • Volunteering
  • Steering group meetings
  • “Women helping women” group
  • Kitchen facilities
  • Private rooms for counselling

Project strengths and achievements

PCHP provided personalised, holistic support to its participants, which is enabled dramatic improvements in everyone’s progress. A wide range of groups were on offer and these are built on community need. This enabled PCHP to cater to many different people. Groups included a “women helping women” and “cooking for single dads”. Having different groups allowed people to share experiences in an environment in which they feel comfortable. For example, it was remarked that single dads were generally reluctant to access support such as cooking classes, but that a group specifically for them had been encouraging participation. Other services sat alongside these groups, such as one-to-one counselling, providing multiple forms of support.

PCHP acted as a facilitator, giving local people a voice and empowering them to create their own projects. PCHP was felt to be responsive to local need and to have a strong commitment to its community. It was seen as a “hands-on” organisation, with a focus on outreach work. Its activities were often peer-led. This, combined with holistic personalised support, enabled participants to develop their skills and increase their confidence enough to create spin-offs. PCHP provided ongoing support to spin-off programmes, helping to sustain these long-term.

PCHP acted as an entry point and interface to other services and support. This helped create a sense of a community food movement in Granton. PCHP achieved this through its involvement and connections to other local grassroots movements, and effective dissemination of its knowledge of local services - for example, their link with Granton Community Gardeners

Issues and challenges

While the PCHP kitchen was well-equipped and could be used by the public, participants/volunteers struggled to find venues outwith PCHP where they could provide cookery classes and other activities. Community spaces, for example, schools, can be hard for the public to access. This lack of access impeded the success of a new cooking group set up by a volunteer. They felt that the PCHP kitchen was too small for their purposes, as only demonstrations were possible in the space, and wanted to host the class in a bigger community kitchen. This proved challenging.

Impacts

  • Greater food affordability - Participants facing food insecurity learnt to cook on a budget. Therefore, they experienced less difficulty affording food
  • Awareness of other support and services - As noted above, PCHP acted as an interface with other local services. The project demonstrated strong partnership working and good knowledge of local support and activities available, with effective dissemination to participants
  • Reduced social isolation/building community - Participants and volunteers were meeting people through PCHP activities. Participants felt more connected as they are sharing experiences with people facing similar challenges. PCHP is building community through the creation of spin-off projects.

Name

Bridging the Gap

Location

Glasgow

Amount of FFTF funding

£73,758

What the project did

This project was an extension of existing high impact community provision. It was comprised of a partnership between The Barn, Link Up, TASK and The High-Rise Bakers. Activities included monthly ‘Come Dine with Me’ community meals, weekly community drop-ins, a breakfast club, youth groups and a social enterprise – ‘The High-Rise Bakers’ (which allows participants to produce and sell artisan bread). This case study is based on interviews at The Barn and Link Up.

Activities/events/groups

Facilities

  • Community meals
  • Youth groups
  • Exercise classes
  • Arts and crafts groups
  • Drop-in sessions
  • One-to-one support
  • Walking groups
  • Family breakfast club
  • Bread making classes
  • Growing groups
  • Kitchen
  • Pool and air hockey tables
  • Arts room
  • Purpose built youth centre with dining area with lounge
  • Outside sports pitches
  • Offices
  • Gym

Project strengths and achievements

Bridging the Gap demonstrated the power of close partnership working in creating a relevant, personalised and multifaceted project, with the ability to work effectively for many and varied community members. In joining together, the small specialised services that comprised Bridging the Gap were able to transcend the limitations faced by smaller organisations. Participants could take part in a range of activities through its network, and learning was shared between organisations, ensuring many different subgroups in the community are looked after. By working as a partnership, trust and reputation could be spread rapidly throughout the local area, allowing newer groups to become well-established more quickly.

Through attentiveness, flexibility and careful governance, Bridging the Gap became able to develop highly effective data collection methods and to incorporate learning into its sessions, while keeping them attractive to participants. The Barn, part of Bridging the Gap, used end of session staff meetings to track the progress of participants and of the project itself. Staff reflected on what has and has not been working, and voiced any concerns they may have. These meetings also ensured that all staff are aiming for the same outcomes, enabling a shared ethos. Staff listened to participants, involving them in the project’s design and direction. By doing so, the project adapted with changing needs, and adjusted approaches that are not working well.

Issues and challenges

Bridging the Gap recognised a challenge in balancing increasing demand with maintaining high-quality support for all participants. The junior and senior youth groups provided by the Barn were impeded by their own success, with each averaging 50-60 young people per session. Staff explained that were numbers to grow more, they would exceed the organisation’s capacity, both in terms of staff resource and space. With a new housing development being built nearby, staff were concerned that it will become harder to keep track of individual participants.

Staff combatted the ever-present difficulties in sustaining momentum through their hands-on outreach work. Although Bridging the Gap had a strong and long-standing reputation, staff feel that the constant influx of new residents into the neighbourhood means there will never be security in the popularity of the project. For this reason, it was believed that ongoing promotion of the project’s activities was essential, with door knocking being felt the most effective way of doing this, as flyers and leaflets were impersonal and easy to ignore. Staff noted that in the face of stringent cuts it was becoming very difficult to find the manpower for this street work.

Impacts

  • Greater food affordability - Community meals and drop-in sessions provide free food, reducing costs for participants
  • Awareness of other support and services - As noted above, Bridging the Gap demonstrated strong partnership working.
  • Reduced social isolation/building community - Bridging the Gap fostered cultural and racial integration. The range of tailored activities available engage people who would otherwise be isolated.

Name:

Stepwell Consultancy Ltd

Location:

Greenock, Inverclyde

Amount of FFTF funding:

£58,278

What the project did

Stepwell supported households facing hardship in Inverclyde by improving their access to, and ability to cook, healthy and nutritious food. A cook school aimed at increasing confidence and skills to cook affordable, tasty meals from scratch, was supplemented by financial capability work and opportunities to access additional support, including employability, financial assistance and social activities.

Activities/events/groups

Facilities

  • Food parcels
  • Hands on cook schools
  • Monthly “Connect” Hub
  • Provision of “Fresh” soup and coffee vouchers
  • Community meals
  • Social enterprise café “Fresh”
  • Kitchen facilities

Project strengths and achievements

Through its Cook-Eat-Connect programme, Stepwell enabled greater choice for people experiencing food poverty and changing peoples’ relationships with food and food banks. Stepwell ran 6-week cookery courses for people experiencing food poverty. All ingredients used within the programme are those commonly provided in food parcels. Participants were shown a range of ways these can be used to make different meals. This enabled participants to use their food parcels more effectively and to make food they enjoy. Some participants felt happier accessing food banks now that they have more autonomy over how they use the food they receive.

Stepwell’s modern, professional facilities and focus on creating a welcoming, sociable atmosphere made participants feel comfortable and dignified, improving their mood and mental health. All interviewees mentioned the high quality of Stepwell’s facilities and restaurant. This made participants want to return each week, as they viewed it as a cookery class rather than a charitable event. Staff emphasised the need to treat people “as people”, an approach that was encouraging participants to feel confident in their cookery skills and themselves.

Interviewees provided strong evidence that Stepwell was having a major effect on the physical health of its participants, with many reporting weight losses as a direct result of the cookery school. Participants felt that Cook-Eat-Connect fostered a communal drive to eat more healthily, and that they were better able to do this after undertaking classes.

Issues and challenges

Stepwell’s cookery school had become an important part of many of its participant’s lives, and several people thus wished it to continue for longer than its six-week duration. Stepwell’s classes had sparked the interest of a number of participants, who wanted to learn even more about cooking but were unsure how to do so after the course had ended.

Impacts

  • Greater food affordability - Cooking classes that specifically use ingredients found in food parcels enable participants to get more out of these, increasing food affordability. Classes show people how to bulk cook on a budget, helping large families afford food
  • Reduced social isolation/building community - Participants ate together after cooking classes, forming relationships that continue outwith the project.

Name

Castlemilk Parish Church of Scotland

Location

Castlemilk, Glasgow

Amount of FFTF funding

£29,122

What the project did

This project provided fortnightly community evening meals with activities such as quizzes and bingo, as well as performances by residents. The project additionally provided: a crèche, access to food parcels, opportunities to volunteer and receive training, and paid employment opportunities. People could donate what they could afford through a donations box.

Activities/events/groups

Facilities

  • Food parcels
  • Community meals
  • Volunteering
  • Volunteer training
  • Paid positions
  • Performances and entertainment
  • Self-reliance group
  • Carpentry group
  • Church hall for community meals
  • Overflow space for meals
  • Quiet room
  • Training room
  • Crèche
  • Kitchen facilities
  • Offices

Project strengths and achievements

Castlemilk Parish Church had been successful in achieving a feeling of ownership of the project by the community. The range of volunteering available, from very informal to formal, meant that the distinction between “client” and “volunteer” was often fluid. This enabled those who otherwise would not to get involved in the project. Many who felt they actively gave back to the project started by helping in informal ways without explicitly being a volunteer. From this, several participants went on to have more formal volunteer roles such as setting up tables or ushering people in at the beginning of meals. This helped to create an environment where everyone attending is seen as an equal, as those formally volunteering were not seen as distinct from those participating in the meals.

The asset-based approach being championed by Castlemilk Parish Church had been effective in creating a positive and welcoming environment. People felt they wanted to be part of meals as they are adding value, rather than that they are having to go because they are in food poverty. Individual strengths and abilities are the focus, rather than deficits. Participants were made to feel needed, as they were explicitly told by staff that everyone contributes by being part of the meal, whether this is just by being there, being someone to talk to, providing a donation or clearing after meals.

The project made in-roads towards being sustainable. At the time of data collection, donations were covering the costs of food. By having a dedicated member of staff purchase ingredients, the project was managing to serve good quality, three course meals for a pound a head. This has been achieved through taking advantage of bulk-buying and offers online.

Issues and challenges

Staff were successful in maintaining community cohesion, overcoming tensions between the parish and local community. Staff were overcoming this challenge through gentle encouragement and reminders that the project belongs to everyone.

Impacts:

  • Greater food affordability - Community meals are free and produced cheaply. Volunteers and paid staff report being better able to budget through learning to cook from scratch
  • Reduced social isolation/building community - Many participants feel less isolated because of taking part in community meals.

Name

Beith Community Development Trust

Location

Beith, North Ayrshire

Amount of FFTF funding

£19,250

What the project did

This project ran several groups including: A Soup Group, an arts and crafts group and a gardening group. The project also ran an annual festival with local food and musical performances from participants. Volunteering and training opportunities were available. Facilities included football and tennis pitches, as well as a sensory garden. Beith Trust was flexible in delivery, providing cookery classes at a local school. With help from volunteers, the project renovated one of its on-site buildings and constructed flats to rent.

Activities/events/groups

Facilities

  • Community meals
  • Volunteering
  • Volunteer training
  • Paid positions
  • Cookery classes
  • Beith Beer Festival
  • Music lessons
  • Growing groups
  • Arts and crafts group
  • Soup group
  • Community centre
  • Kitchen facilities
  • Offices
  • Outdoor sports pitches
  • Sensory garden
  • Workshop
  • Growing spaces
  • Flats (in construction)

Project strengths and achievements

Beith Trust generated a network of peer-to-peer parent education and support through its cooking classes; where parents had the space and time to socialise and share experiences. Participants commented on the loose structure and relaxed feel of the cooking classes. As many parents had part-time jobs and childcare duties, they appreciated being able to drop in and out of classes as and when it suited them. One parent mentioned that they had been unable to attend more rigid classes as their children had disrupted these, and they had been made to feel embarrassed. They explained that Beith Trust sessions were different, that at these sessions children were collectively looked after by the group, with no one made to feel alienated.

Beith Trust had been one of the most successful projects in engaging the whole community. The Beith Beer Festival had become a cornerstone of the Beith community, providing food and refreshments as well as music from local young people. Staff believed this festival to be integral to the Trust’s success. They mentioned that community projects often overlooked the most effective ways to engage people. It was remarked that normal activities, such as eating and drinking, were sometimes the best way of engaging people who otherwise would not, especially when part of a local festival or something similar. The festival was very popular with residents and had encouraged participation in other Beith Trust activities through normalising it.

Beith Trust is increasing its sustainability through several income-generating activities. These include the Beith Beer Festival, rental income from hiring out the land they own for local sports, and most recently the building and furnishing of flats to let within its grounds.

Issues and challenges

Beith Trust hosted events at several locations, increasing accessibility for those living remotely or without a car. Beith Trust is one of the more rural FFTF projects and, as a result, participants encountered difficulties in accessing its activities, relying on others for lifts to and from them. The Trust have been tackling this issue by reaching out into the community, approaching venues such as local schools to host activities, rather than making participants come to their community hub. This has also helped promote the Trust to a wider selection of people.

Impacts

  • Greater food affordability - Parents participating in the cooking classes experiencing food insecurity report reduced waste as they have learnt how to make meals from leftovers, and what can and cannot be frozen
  • Reduced social isolation/building community - Participants made new friends through the cookery classes and were less intimidated by other parents as they now recognise many of them in the playground

Name

St. Paul’s Youth Forum

Location

Blackhill, Glasgow

Amount of FFTF funding

£46,438

What the project did

This project started as a food bank but expanded to provide more dignified approaches to food provision. Activities weekly community meals with opportunities for participants to cook, growing groups, trips away, volunteering and training opportunities and paid employment positions. Facilities included a bike rental service, a handmade pizza oven, bee hives, radio station equipment and a chicken coop.

Activities/events/groups

Facilities

  • Community meals
  • Volunteering
  • Volunteer training
  • Paid positions
  • Radio station
  • Growing
  • Trips away
  • Sleepovers
  • Youth committee
  • Community centre
  • Kitchen facilities
  • Garden with polytunnels
  • Homemade pizza oven
  • Bee hives
  • Chicken coop
  • Radio equipment
  • Bike shed

Project strengths and achievements

The most important and successful aspect of St. Paul’s Youth Forum was that it grew out of community need, using innovative approaches to tackle local issues. Staff and volunteers were from the area and thus possessed an intimate understanding of the context in which they were working. This understanding allowed the project to target its efforts where it matters. For example, several years ago staff recognised that gang violence was one of the biggest problems in Blackhill. In response, the project hired a greater number of male staff and used them to act as role models for boys in the area. This approach proved highly effective, reducing local gang violence significantly.

St. Paul’s Youth Forum is managing to engage its young people in the decision-making process. One aspect of this is the youth committee, where young people can share ideas and have their say. This process was made fun, resulting in the committee becoming well represented and attended. For those who were less vocal or confident, there was an anonymous suggestions box at the community meals.

Impacts

  • Greater food affordability – St. Paul’s was growing its own food, reducing the cost of community meals. Young people and volunteers were learning to grow their own food and cook meals from scratch, increasing food affordability
  • Reduced social isolation/building community – Most participants came to St. Paul’s for the social aspect of the meals.

Name

Food for Thought West Dunbartonshire

Location

West Dunbartonshire

Amount of FFTF funding

£20,000

What the project did

This project provided community meals twice weekly. Food parcels were available at the meals. Volunteering and training opportunities were provided. One-to-one support was on offer.

Activities/events/groups

Facilities

  • Community soup
  • Volunteering
  • Volunteer training including formal certificates
  • One-to-one support
  • Christmas meal
  • Performances
  • Community hall
  • Kitchen facilities
  • Amplifiers, microphones and stage for performances

Project strengths and achievements

Food for Thought was a safe space for people facing many forms of disadvantage. Participants felt part of an “extended family”, as opposed to clients. Integral to this feeling were its approachable and friendly volunteers, who had themselves been supported, and its experienced staff member, who prioritised what works for participants. Volunteers at Food for Thought came through its support network and Community Soup Group. This meant that they have encountered similar experiences to attendees, something considered important by participants we spoke to in being comfortable to open up to them. Its sole member of staff had a wide breadth of experience, having previously worked with many vulnerable groups. Support tended to be through informal chats, meaning participants receive high quality help, without feeling assessed by an authority figure.

Food for Thought had several successful partnerships with local organisations and was an important part of the “free food network” in Dumbarton. By working closely with other local church groups and independent charities, people were able to receive a free meal five days a week in Dumbarton. Interviewees knew where and when each meal was held and had a good knowledge of services available in the area through Food for Thought.

Issues and challenges

Staff built up a relationship with Marks and Spencer, adding to the donations they receive each week, but still struggled to adequately fund emergency food provision. As Food for Thought was not primarily a food bank, staff encountered difficulties in providing emergency food with no pre-existing ties to big supermarkets. WhileMarks and Spencer had recently become a donor, the amount given varied from week to week. This meant it was hard to anticipate how many people could be provided for.

Impacts

  • Greater food affordability – Community meals were free and 3-day food parcels are available to everyone. Donations from local supermarkets helped reduce the costs of meals. Volunteers were learning to cook on a budget
  • Reduced social isolation/building community – Several interviewees saw company as the main reason for attending Food for Thought, stating that this was why they returned each week and that it had become part of their “social calendar”
  • Awareness of other support and services – As previously noted, Food for Thought had strong links to other similar projects in the area, as well as other groups within the building. The project also worked closely with agencies that can refer into and out of the service, and participants appeared to have a good awareness of what is available to them.

Name

The Everlasting Foodbank

Location

Dennistoun, Glasgow

Amount of FFTF funding

£43,000

What the project does

The Everlasting Foodbank was founded in 2014 by the Everlasting Arms Ministries Church. With funding from the Scottish Government, it was able to expand its activities and was hosting ‘pay as you feel’ three-course meals every two weeks, alongside drop-in support and a clothes bank, as well as the original food bank provision.

Activities/events/groups

Facilities

  • Community meals
  • Food bank
  • Food distribution
  • Volunteering
  • Council worker drop-in sessions
  • Clothes bank
  • Accredited food qualifications
  • Church hall
  • Food bank storage space
  • Kitchen
  • Van
  • Clothes and household goods

Project strengths and achievements

The Everlasting Foodbank was providing dignity in its approach to food, ensuring high quality three course meals at its community lunches. At its core, this project had the aim that participants enjoy the food they are given, coming to the lunches out of choice rather than necessity. This agenda had translated well into practice, with several positive comments from interviewees about the quality of food, including one description that it was of “Gordon Ramsey” standard. Key to this success were that the head chef, while a volunteer, is highly trained, and that all tasks are carefully delegated out.

The Everlasting Foodbank had been one of the most successful projects in engaging those with experience of food poverty in its design and day-to-day running. Many food bank users had become volunteers at the community meals. Their experience and understanding of the issues facing people had created a non-judgemental and empathetic environment, one in which people can share their stories and feel less alone in their individual circumstances. It was felt that being served by people with experience of a food bank removed the “awkwardness” that can sometimes be apparent at such projects for participants. Food bank users appreciated the ability to contribute, explaining that they feel part of a community where everyone gives what they can and takes what they need. Close involvement of volunteers also enabled the organisation to rapidly respond when things are not working well.

Issues and challenges

Both staff and volunteers felt expansion of the project is limited by costly overheads. Several interviewees were keen to see the project grow, and to have a service on more days, but felt this could not happen within the current budget. It was mentioned that partnering with other agencies that could contribute to electricity costs might enable this hurdle to be overcome.

The diversity and extent of different needs of participants could sometimes be difficult to manage. Participants at the community meals often have substance dependencies and mental health issues. On occasion, this led to tense situations, though these tend to be deescalated by other participants and volunteers.

Impacts

  • Greater food affordability - Community meals were pay as you feel and free food to take away is available both at the food bank and at the meals
  • Reduced social isolation/building community – Participants recognised the social value of food and built their own support networks through attending the community meals. Participants helped one another out, giving what they can to one another

Name

Yoker Parish Church

Location

Yoker

Amount of FFTF funding

£31,750

What the project did

The “New Yoker Diners” was a bi-monthly community meal run by Yoker Parish Church. Entertainment such as quizzes and craft-making occurred after the meal. Both the meal and entertainment were open to anyone.

Activities/events/groups

Facilities

  • Community meals
  • Food distribution
  • Volunteering
  • Entertainment (quizzes, crafts etc.)
  • Church hall
  • Kitchen

Project strengths and achievements

Yoker Parish Church provided a space in which members of the local community could come together to enjoy a “fun extended family meal”. Staff and volunteers showed a good understanding of what makes food provision dignified. They were very conscious of the environment they create, deliberately engineering a community meal which resembles “more of a night out” than a charity event. Small touches like tablecloths were important to this, as were the after-dinner activities which include quizzes, bingo and crafts. The layout of tables had been carefully designed to ensure that the meals are a sociable occasion.

This project involved the local community in its direction and progress. Its steering group consisted of staff and volunteer/participants who had equal input into the project’s future.

This project was successfully using social media to create community links and grow its reputation in Yoker. Staff were using Twitter to improve the visibility of the project. Through engagement with headteachers and schools, the project was able to reach a wide audience, to target families, and young people facing disadvantage.

Issues and challenges

As the cooking of the community meals was volunteer-led, providing variety in the meals could be a challenge. Staff were hoping to overcome this issue by partnering with a student cooking school in the future.

Impacts

  • Greater food affordability – The community meals were pay as you feel, and leftover food was informally given out to participants experiencing food insecurity
  • Reduced social isolation/building community – Interviewees felt that it was “the people” that meant most to them at the community meals

Name

Midlothian Foodbank

Location

Gorebridge, Midlothian

Amount of FFTF funding

£16,000

What the project did

This project began as a food bank but expanded to provide weekly community meals and a car boot style event every Tuesday, both of which are universal services.

Activities/events/groups

Facilities

  • Community meals
  • Food parcels
  • Food distribution
  • Volunteering
  • Car boot sale style event
  • Food bank storage space
  • Community hall
  • Raised beds

Project strengths and achievements

Midlothian Foodbank reduced the loneliness and isolation of many members of its community, improving the mental health of some individuals considerably. Several interviewees at the community meals mentioned living alone and struggling with the lack of a local community. Since attending the meals they had made new friends, some of which had continued beyond the project. For one person with severe anxiety issues, it was the only place they felt comfortable attending, and it was thus vital in getting them “out of the house”. There is some evidence of informal mentoring through intergenerational contact of veterans with one another. This has been partly enabled through staff actively reaching out to local veteran groups.

Participants felt able to open up to volunteers and value their down-to-earth and friendly nature. Volunteers were carefully managed at Midlothian Foodbank, and had been selected based on their particular personalities and skills. This was integral to the creation of a welcoming environment for participants, and a smooth running operation, both at the food bank and community meals.

Issues and challenges

Although some individuals overlap between the food bank and community meals, integration was not common. Staff and volunteers found it difficult to encourage people receiving food parcels to join the community meals. However, they also recognised that not everyone receiving food parcels was interested in the sociable side of the project and vice versa, and that having the choice to opt out was part of the dignity approach.

Impacts

  • Greater food affordability – The community meals are pay as you
    feel, and leftover food was informally distributed among participants experiencing food insecurity, as well as supermarket donations. Food parcels were given out to those in crisis through the food bank
  • Reduced social isolation/building community – Participants formed friendships through the community meals, with older community members acting as role models for some younger members

Name

Start-Up Stirling

Location

Stirlingshire (multiple locations)

Amount of FFTF funding

£47,485

What the project does

Start-Up Stirling began in 1994 by giving starter packs to young people facing disadvantage. Six years ago, it expanded to provide a food bank service for the community of Stirling with 15 volunteers. Since then, it has expanded, and at the time of data collection provided food banks in three fixed location with over 90 volunteers. Start-Up Stirling also provided three rural deliveries per week for those who were unable to make it to its food banks. Most recently, the project had started offering a support service and free lunch in two locations across Stirlingshire.

Activities/events/groups

Facilities

  • Food banks
  • Support services
  • Community lunches
  • Food distribution
  • Fuel advice and signposting
  • One-to-one support
  • Volunteering
  • Recipe cards
  • Warehouse (for food storage)
  • Van
  • Community halls
  • Church halls
  • Kitchens

Project strengths and achievements

Start-Up Stirling was one of the only projects to have successfully changed the food bank itself to a more dignified model of food provision. A number of developments had contributed to this. Start-Up Stirling was providing fresh fruit, vegetables, dairy and meat as part of its offer to food bank clients. It had been able to do so by partnering with local butchers and shops, purchasing these goods at less than wholesale prices. The food bank also had an explicit “café ethos”. People attending were given tea and coffee, and were able to have a chat with a volunteer trained in “active listening”. Interviewees valued this highly, feeling cared for and respected. Recipe cards were given out to participants, but only if and when they wanted them, and were taken through the recipes with a volunteer first.

By offering tiered support, Start-Up Stirling catered to a diverse range of people. Start-Up Stirling offered both low-level, short-term support and very high-level, long-term support. Participants were able to choose how much they wish to engage with the project. The existence of longer term food provision reduced the pressure felt by participants, enabling them to tackle other barriers such as mental health issues or difficult circumstances.

Issues and challenges

Staff found volunteer management a challenging part of their job. Start-Up Stirling recognised that with such a large-scale project, volunteer dynamics were important. This made for hard decisions as sometimes a volunteer did not fit within a team and had to be let go.

Impacts

  • Greater food affordability Participants received free food parcels, which they are able to use more efficiently through recipe cards. Support from a fuel expert helped participants maximise their income
  • Reduced social isolation/building community – participants met new people through the support service, and felt less alone from talking to volunteers at the food bank
  • Awareness of other support and services – participants were more aware of other services such as CAB as a result of Start-Up Stirling, and of other local opportunities

Name

Moray Foodbank

Location

Elgin, Moray

Amount of FFTF funding

£27,977

What the project did

Moray Foodbank started as a traditional food bank, with a fixed location in Elgin. It transitioned to a food distribution model, partnering with both local food suppliers and other support services to provide community larders for people experiencing food poverty across Moray.

Activities/events/groups

Facilities

  • Volunteering
  • Food distribution
  • Food bank
  • Partnership and advice/outreach
  • Food bank storage space
  • Offices
  • Refrigerated van
  • Community larders

Project strengths and achievements

Moray Foodbank achieved considerable progress away from the traditional food bank model through its partnership and outreach approach. This project made an active and concerted effort to transition to a more dignified model of food provision. The food bank had a member of staff dedicated to finding and talking to organisations across Moray that may benefit from the addition of an element of food provision. This built a strong network of organisations, working together to distribute food to people experiencing food poverty, at their convenience and in their locality.

Community larders provided greater choice and dignity in food provision, along with the opportunity for fresh produce including fruit, vegetables, meat and milk. Participants could choose from a range of food products, rather than receiving a standard food parcel. As a result, less food was going to waste. The presence of community larders at a range of locations, and within different organisations, meant people experiencing food poverty no longer need come to a food bank and can receive support with far more discretion.

Volunteering at Moray Foodbank was benefitting a range of different people, including those with physical or mental health issues. Volunteers felt valued and understood their specific role. Staff recognised the importance of listening to volunteers, what they want and how to play to their strengths. The project had a clear focus on finding somewhere for everyone to fit, working around whatever barriers volunteers may have to ensure they feel useful and involved in meaningful activities.

Issues and challenges

Short term funding was working contrary to the longer term project aims of achieving and maintaining a food network across Moray. Staff were concerned that having worked hard to build relationships with partners across Moray, funding could be cut and the network could disappear. Long-term funding was desired to be able to develop the project, to have time to innovate and to reflect.

It was felt that being a rural project presented unique challenges. Moray Foodbank was keen to share its experiences and to learn from others. However, staff found most networks and conferences took place in urban areas of the central belt, restricting their ability to be involved.

Impacts

  • Greater food affordability
  • Reduced social isolation/building community
  • Awareness of other support and service

How to access background or source data

The data collected for this social research publication:

☐ are available in more detail through Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics

☐ are available via an alternative route

☐ may be made available on request, subject to consideration of legal and ethical factors.

☒ cannot be made available by Scottish Government for further analysis as Scottish Government is not the data controller.

Contact

Email: Catriona Rooke

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