The Scottish Government recently published Cash First: Towards Ending the Need for Food Banks in Scotland. In this blog post, we highlight a few examples of what community food initiatives are already doing to contribute to the actions in this Plan.
Larger organisations such as Community Food Initiatives North East (CFINE) and Lanarkshire Community Food and Health Partnership (LCFHP) have been central to supporting access to, and take up of, affordable good food for several decades between them. In more recent years, they have developed or become involved in local initiatives to try to address poverty.
CFINE provides a local ‘cash (and advice) first’ response to poverty through its money-advice service and has developed other programmes such as employability and skills development to provide a more holistic approach. LCFHP tackles poverty by being part of the North Lanarkshire Poverty Referral Pathway and supports the local community by running food activities, including cooking and weight management.
Edinburgh Community Food (ECF) is embedding ‘cash first’ approaches throughout its food projects. Its staff team have been trained by local partners Community Help & Advice Initiative about benefits and grants to enable them to pass on information directly to local communities. ECF also distributes Independent Food Aid network ‘Worrying about Money?’ leaflets as part of their food deliveries.
The Glasgow City Food Plan provides a more recent example of work to address the complex issues of our food system and food insecurity through city-wide collaboration. The wide membership of the Glasgow Food Policy Partnership group has pulled together the Plan which includes actions around developing ‘advice first’ and ‘cash first’ principles to help transition away from food aid referrals across the city.
Moray Food Plus provides an example of a project that aims to support people experiencing food insecurity by providing food aid and has developed a wide range of food projects, including food growing, cooking sessions and family clubs to complement this. It is currently developing its work to combat poverty by developing a money advice service.