Food and health case studies

Scotland has a strong history of community food initiatives, from lunch clubs and food co-ops to youth cafés and gardening projects, all working to improve health and wellbeing in low-income areas and to address the needs of different groups of people.

West Lothian Council

Delivering cooking groups for other agencies The Get Cooking programme, run by West Lothian Council Health Improvement Team, is a long established programme that offers cooking groups to a wide range of participants. Most often the courses are run for …

Read ‘West Lothian Council’ here

Elgin Youth Cafe

Recruiting people experiencing food insecurity to attend cooking courses Elgin Youth Café is a third sector organisation that aims to create a safe haven, social space and development opportunities for young people. Projects include a youth café, after …

Read ‘Elgin Youth Cafe’ here

Action for Children

Sourcing low cost, healthy food locally The Action for Children Family Centre based in Kelloholm, Dumfries and Galloway, provides a range of facilities and activities for families with young children in the area to support the wellbeing of the families …

Read ‘Action for Children’ here

Community Food Initiatives North East (CFINE)

Linking in with other organisations CFINE is a social enterprise and charity operating from a hub in Aberdeen. It undertakes a range of food and health activities including running a food bank, selling low-cost produce in local communities, operating F …

Read ‘Community Food Initiatives North East (CFINE)’ here

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Identifying and reaching people who may be experiencing food insecurity John Casey works as a Health Improvement Practitioner for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and has a remit for the south of the city. His role includes managing a range of ‘Get Cookin …

Read ‘NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’ here

Edinburgh Community Food

Adapting recipes to suit the group Edinburgh Community Food is a third sector organisation undertaking a range of food and health work. As well as running and supplying food co-ops across the city, it does a range of development and promotion work,  in …

Read ‘Edinburgh Community Food’ here

Edinburgh Cyrenians Good Food Programme goes to Queen Margaret University

Background Recently I (Sue O’Neil-Berest, Good Food tutor, Edinburgh Cyrenians) went to Queen Margaret University to run a session on public health issues with the first year nursing students. In the morning they had lectures about public health legisl …

Read ‘Edinburgh Cyrenians Good Food Programme goes to Queen Margaret University’ here

Tullibody Healthy Living

Background Tullibody Healthy Living (THL) is a community-led health project where ‘tackling health inequalities’ is at the heart of what it does.  Set up in 2003, it is based in Tullibody, a small ex-mining community of 10,000 people in Clackmannanshir …

Read ‘Tullibody Healthy Living’ here

Meal Makers

The most recent project to be launched by the older person’s charity Food Train, ‘Meal Makers’, is a community food sharing project which connects people who love cooking and want to be active in their community (Cooks), with older neighbours (Diners) …

Read ‘Meal Makers’ here

Granton Community Gardeners

Granton Community Gardeners (GCG) is a community gardening project that has been running since 2010. Through adopting a community development approach, the project has resulted in lots of positive outcomes for the area.

Read ‘Granton Community Gardeners’ here

A Healthier Me

‘A Healthier Me’ is a Borders wide project. It aims to ensure that adults with learning disabilities using the 12 learning disability services based in the Borders area receive consistent support and information with eating well and other lifestyle rel …

Read ‘A Healthier Me’ here

East Dunbartonshire Food Co-ops

Bike contraption for making smoothies

The food co-ops in Hillhead and Lennoxtown offer access to good quality, low-cost, fresh fruit and vegetables and to volunteering opportunities, where people can develop new skills and get involved in their community.

Read ‘East Dunbartonshire Food Co-ops’ here

Perth and Kinross Healthy Communities Collaborative

Perth and Kinross Healthy Communities Collaborative is a community-led health promotion initiative. It works with older people from specific communities, and empowers them to improve health and quality of life for themselves and their peers.  Taking an …

Read ‘Perth and Kinross Healthy Communities Collaborative’ here

Kirkcaldy Foodbank

Non-perishable food on shelves

‘For nobody to go hungry during a time of crisis in the Kirkcaldy area and for everybody to share what they can’ is the foodbank’s mission. It provides emergency food for people in need and support them to find longer-term solutions.

Read ‘Kirkcaldy Foodbank’ here

North Lanarkshire Food Aid

North Lanarkshire Food Aid supports people facing hardship and extreme food poverty. It uses a range of co-ordinated interventions designed to deliver a more holistic and longer-term approach than foodbanks have historically been able to offer.

Read ‘North Lanarkshire Food Aid’ here

Healthy Happy Communities Project

Young children digging with trowels with two young mums

This projects runs in disadvantaged areas of Angus, focusing on food and health, particularly for women of childbearing age, pregnant women and the under-fives. It has Healthy Start cafés and community gardening and cooking projects.

Read ‘Healthy Happy Communities Project’ here

Dixon Community Minority Ethnic Day Activity & Friendship Centre

Rice, curry, nan bread and salad

This is a centre for frail older people from the minority ethnic community where their cultural and religious needs are recognised. The lunch club provides the opportunity for members to enjoy a healthy meal in the company of friends.

Read ‘Dixon Community Minority Ethnic Day Activity & Friendship Centre’ here

Elgin Youth Café

Girl with halloween lanterns

The Youth Café is a fully inclusive, safe haven for young people, run from a building in the centre of Elgin. More than just a place to hang out, it offers imaginative activities and courses on food and health during term-time and holidays, with most ideas coming from the young people themselves.

Read ‘Elgin Youth Café’ here

Claddach Kirkibost Café

White washed community building

Part of the community-led Claddach Kirkibost Centre on the west coast of North Uist, the café offers high quality food and service all year round, together with stunning views and friendly staff. The café is unique in North Uist as a meet-up place for a snack, a meal or just a cup of tea.

Read ‘Claddach Kirkibost Café’ here

Confidence to Cook

Girl carrying tray of washing up with older people in background

Confidence to Cook aims to promote healthy eating messages through practical hands-on cookery sessions, particularly in low-income communities with vulnerable groups. Sessions are run across Grampian in a range of venues.

Read ‘Confidence to Cook’ here

Let’s Make it Better – Sunlite Café

Fresh food counter

Sunlite Café in Stirling gives people with mental health challenges the opportunity to gain self-confidence and skills in a friendly, supportive environment. Members are involved in running the café and offered food and hygiene training, including REHIS Elementary Cooking Skills.

Read ‘Let’s Make it Better – Sunlite Café’ here

Stepping Out

Gardening raised beds

Stepping Out is a voluntary organisation based in the North Berwick Community Centre. The aim of the organisation is to provide people with mental health problems (mostly severe and enduring) with an opportunity to participate in various food-based activities.

Read ‘Stepping Out’ here

ENABLE Scotland

Five adults with learning disabilities holding up info sheet

ENABLE Scotland supports adults and children with learning disabilities living in their own homes, or shared accommodation, to achieve their personal goals. Since 2007, it has encouraged its staff to train in nutrition to ensure people using their service receive consistent food and health messages and support.

Read ‘ENABLE Scotland’ here

Upward Mobility

Wooden box with seedlings

Based in Edinburgh, Upward Mobility runs workshops for students with a learning disability, covering a wide range of subjects that includes cooking and community gardening.

Read ‘Upward Mobility’ here