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Communities benefit from Aberdeenshire Food Fund

By David Porter

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Councillors have been updated on the work being done to make sure people in Aberdeenshire have access to food.

Earlier this year the Council made funds available to support local projects tackling food security in north-east communities because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is after the Scottish Government awarded the authority grant money to be distributed on a needs basis in areas of deprivation or to those struggling throughout the pandemic.

A report prepared by the Tackling Poverty and Inequalities Group was presented to the Business Services Committee where councillors got to see where some of that money is being spent and who is being supported. The fund is designed to support households experiencing food insecurity.

The Food Fund has been allocated to date to support the following activities:

• Continued access to statutory free school meal provision and direct payment if young people are unable to access meals in the school setting for Covid reasons.

• Support for breakfast clubs during the academic year 20/21

• Food provision for families using the childcare hubs

• Enhanced food parcels (fresh fruit, veg and eggs) for shielded households experiencing financial insecurity

• Flexible food fund to support financial payments to families experiencing hardship because of Covid 19

• Increased support for adults with disabilities unable to attend day services and respite during Covid-19

Funding has also supported:

• Payments to local foodbanks to provide food parcels.

• Community food funds that supports community organisations providing emergency food parcels, develop/sustain community food larders and pantries and community growing projects

• Support for foodbanks to access additional storage facilities and to fill gaps in supplies received via Fareshare or other donations to maintain resilience

• Grants to third sector organisations providing food related activity such as cooking and budgeting skills.

The Aberdeenshire Community Food Fund accepts applications aiming to tackle food security such as constituted groups, registered charities or partnerships involving local organisations with a constituted body as lead partner.

Some significant grant funds have been made available including:

Council leader Jim Gifford.
Council leader Jim Gifford.

CFine - for the development and delivery of a mobile pantry unit that will enable access to low cost, quality food within communities across Aberdeenshire where there is not an existing community larder. This will enable families to access food in a non-stigmatising way and reduce reliance on short term emergency food parcels – total grant £84,000.

North Aberdeenshire Foodbank – to coordinate, support and develop the food network ensuring resources are used effectively, skills, produce and knowledge are shared across Aberdeenshire. North Aberdeenshire Foodbank are leading to work on behalf of the network of foodbanks in Aberdeenshire – total grant £40,000.

Chair of the Committee, councillor Jim Gifford, said: “It is such an important role of the Council to help support individuals at their most vulnerable.

"Ensuring they know how to access food is a cornerstone of that.

"The pandemic has had unprecedented consequences for so many in Aberdeenshire and beyond, and it impacts each of us in a whole range of ways.

"That means that protecting people in food insecurity must remain a priority for us.

"I am pleased to see the ways in which this life-changing fund is administered.”

Vice-chair Mark Findlater said: “It is hard to see this as good news, as in an ideal world we would rather no one struggled to access food and were not in food poverty.

"The focus on young people and children is particularly important and we want to do what we can to make sure our bairns can access a suitable meal.

"My deep thanks to the staff helping administer this fund, they are making a real and demonstrable difference in people’s lives.”

Applications to the Aberdeenshire Community Food Fund are still open.

Each application will be assessed by the local area managers office and funds will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

If approved, funds will be awarded within 20 working days of the application being made.

For information on the criteria and to submit an application, visit https://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/communities-and-events/funding/community-resilience-covid-19/#apply

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