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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.

NHS Lothian and community food networks – adapting to Covid-19 and recovery

This case study provides an overview from NHS Lothian about the contribution that community food networks across the Lothians made towards the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Read ‘NHS Lothian and community food networks – adapting to Covid-19 and recovery’ here

Elgin Youth Development Group – imaginative food and health activities

Two lads with thumbs up and bowls of food

EYDG provide a safe social space for young people in the Elgin area. To support the work they do, they offer room and catering hire through their social enterprise, The Inkwell which allows them to offer work experience opportunities for young people throughout Moray.

Read ‘Elgin Youth Development Group – imaginative food and health activities’ here

Meal Makers – sharing home-cooked food with older people

Younger male cook with older woman

Run by the Food Train, Meal Makers is a community food sharing project which connects people who love cooking and want to be active in their community with older neighbours who would like home cooked food delivered to them every now and then.

Read ‘Meal Makers – sharing home-cooked food with older people’ here

Highland Poverty Action Network – adapting to Covid-19

This case study looks at how MOO Food and Inverness Foodstuff from Highland Poverty Action Network reconfigured their work in response to Covid-19; and how NHS Highland is working with the network to plan recovery.

Read ‘Highland Poverty Action Network – adapting to Covid-19’ here

Greener Kirkcaldy – adapting to Covid-19

Meal in a box - pasta with peas

This case study looks at how Greener Kirkcaldy adjusted to lockdown with ‘Community Meals to Go’ and online cooking activities, and their plans to develop a community pantry with other innovations.

Read ‘Greener Kirkcaldy – adapting to Covid-19’ here

Moray Food Plus – adapting to Covid-19

Moray Food Plus van and woman deliverer with tray of goods

As an anchor organisation with a wide range of volunteering activities, Moray Food Plus had to reconfigure much of their work for lockdown, and have found that their partnerships with other organisations have proved invaluable.

Read ‘Moray Food Plus – adapting to Covid-19’ here

Fife Health and Social Care – a pragmatic approach to cooking skills

Lyndsay Clark from Fife Health and Social Care was a member of the CFHS cooking skills evaluation study group. In this case study, Lyndsay tells us what learning inspired her most and what changes she has since made to her own work to use  a more pragmatic approach to cooking skills.

Read ‘Fife Health and Social Care – a pragmatic approach to cooking skills’ here

Apex Stranraer – using community food to help ex-offenders move on

Ex-offender working in community food initiative

How does food and food work contribute to criminal justice programmes? Apex Stranraer show us how they involve their service users in community food activities, working with Fareshare and a local farm to source food.

Read ‘Apex Stranraer – using community food to help ex-offenders move on’ here

Pathfinder Dogs – Cooking Blind workshops

Woman chopping lettuce and tomatos

Anne Royle of Pathfinder Dogs recognised a need to support blind and partially-sighted people with basic meal preparation. She began by running ad-hoc sessions and was awarded CFHS funding to develop a series of workshops.

Read ‘Pathfinder Dogs – Cooking Blind workshops’ here

Edinburgh Community Food – learning from others

Edinburgh Community Food’s Chris Mantle was a member of CFHS Cooking Skills Evaluation Study Group. This case study describes now that group and networking with others shifted his thinking in how he and his colleagues run cooking skills courses.

Read ‘Edinburgh Community Food – learning from others’ here

Forth Valley Sensory Centre – cooking courses for people with visual loss

The Forth Valley Sensory Centre in Falkirk has been running popular cooking courses for people with visual loss. The classes began last year, led by the Centre’s Café Cook – David Black, who is blind himself. This case study looks at what he achieved and what challenges he had to overcome.

Read ‘Forth Valley Sensory Centre – cooking courses for people with visual loss’ here

Confidence to Cook – sharing evaluation skills to improve cooking skills courses

Fiona Matthew from the NHS Grampian Confidence to Cook programme took part in the CFHS cooking skills evaluation study group. In this case study, Fiona explains what she learned most from being part of the study group, what learning she passed onto others and in turn, what impact it had on their work.

Read ‘Confidence to Cook – sharing evaluation skills to improve cooking skills courses’ here

YCSA – using cooking to support young asylum seekers and refugees

A cooking skills course for young asylum seekers and refugees in Glasgow has enabled Youth Community Support Agency (YCSA) to integrate a wide range of skills into their learning, as well as social contacts and ways into getting involved with the local community.

Read ‘YCSA – using cooking to support young asylum seekers and refugees’ here

Windmills Café – evaluating their service to young people with learning disabilities

Joy and Chris from Windmills Café took part in a small group of community cafés looking at self-evaluation with CFHS. They used personal planning, relationship mapping and other tools to evaluate how successful their independent living skills training and employability service was.

Read ‘Windmills Café – evaluating their service to young people with learning disabilities’ here

Sycamore Tree Café – evaluating their place in the community

Violetta and Anne from Sycamore Tree Café took part in a small group of community cafés looking at self-evaluation with CFHS. They wanted to gauge how effective the café was as bridge between the church and the community, and whether volunteers and customers felt that they belonged to the café.

Read ‘Sycamore Tree Café – evaluating their place in the community’ here

Open Door Café – evaluating their service to older people

Joanne and Hazel from Open Door Café took part in a small group of community cafés looking at self-evaluation with CFHS. They wanted to find out how well their Sunday Lunch and other activities helped reduce social isolation and whether diners felt a sense of belonging.

Read ‘Open Door Café – evaluating their service to older people’ here

Kate’s Kitchen – evaluating their impact and finding out service users’ views

Kate's Kitchen back yard

Anne and Karen from Kate’s Kitchen took part in a small group of community cafés looking at self-evaluation with CFHS. They wanted to find out what difference the ‘pay what you can’ café made to people’s lives and how users thought the gardening service could improve.

Read ‘Kate’s Kitchen – evaluating their impact and finding out service users’ views’ here

Community Food Stop – evaluating outcomes for volunteers

Beverley and Amanda from Community Food Stop took part in a small group of community cafés looking at self-evaluation with CFHS. Recognising that the project couldn’t run without volunteers, they decided to evaluate what people gained from volunteering there and what past volunteers had gone on to do.

Read ‘Community Food Stop – evaluating outcomes for volunteers’ here

North Edinburgh Arts community café – evaluating the volunteer journey

North Edinburgh Arts cafe

Caroline and Angela from North Edinburgh Arts Café took part in a small group of community cafés looking at self-evaluation with CFHS. They wanted to know what café volunteers gained from their experience there, from achievements to community connectedness.

Read ‘North Edinburgh Arts community café – evaluating the volunteer journey’ here

The Usual Place – catering and hospitality skills for young people

The Usual Place community café was established to provide high-quality, strengths-based training around catering and hospitality for young adults aged 16-26 with additional support needs, with the aim of enabling them to move on to employment. The café is based in the centre of Dumfries.

Read ‘The Usual Place – catering and hospitality skills for young people’ here

Get Cooking – delivering cooking courses in West Lothian

Shiona from West Lothian Council Health Improvement Team describes how the ‘Get Cooking’ programme can tailor what they offer to be as inclusive as possible. Their courses are often part of a wider programme of activities with the focus on education, raising awareness and building skills.

Read ‘Get Cooking – delivering cooking courses in West Lothian’ here

Action for Children – sourcing low cost, healthy food locally

This case study focuses on the challenges of sourcing low cost, healthy food for young families in the small rural village of Kelloholm. Working with FareShare, the Action for Children Family Centre families provides cooking courses and food deliveries.

Read ‘Action for Children – sourcing low cost, healthy food locally’ here

CFINE – signposting support through cooking groups

CFINE (Community Food Initiatives North East) offers a holistic community food and health service which includes supporting people with issues such as money, employment, energy costs and housing. This case study looks at how they use cooking groups to link people with other agencies who can help.

Read ‘CFINE – signposting support through cooking groups’ here

Get Cooking, Get Shopping – reaching people experiencing food insecurity

Group of young asian women with chef around Eatwell Plate

‘Get Cooking, Get Shopping’ courses focus on basic nutrition, food safety, cooking methods and recipes for people in the south of Glasgow. This case study looks at how they identify participants who may be struggling to have enough food, both before and during the courses.

Read ‘Get Cooking, Get Shopping – reaching people experiencing food insecurity’ here