Partnership Approach Provides Food Support for Highland Households
To help mitigate the persistent uncertainty and challenges arising from the pandemic, the Highland Council continues its humanitarian support, in partnership with the Community Food Initiative North East (CFINE), which operates FareShare Scotland in the north of Scotland.
With funding from the Scottish Government and donations from supermarkets and food suppliers, FareShare, the Highland Council, local community groups and the Third Sector have adopted a collaborative and co-ordinated approach to food support for the wellbeing of households across the Highlands.
Since the initial lockdown began in March 2020, FareShare has provided approximately 374 tonnes of quality food to the Highlands, which is estimated to be equivalent to over 900,000 meals. The 277 tonnes received by the Council continues to be delivered to individual households, with the vast majority being distributed across the network of community groups and used to provide cooked meals and food supplies within local communities.
The Council’s partnership with FareShare was first established in February 2019 to alleviate food insecurities for Highland households. At that time, as well as providing doorstep deliveries to individual households, the Council began to develop partnerships with a network of faith groups, charities and other support groups that were all involved in food distribution. This model enabled the Council to provide the network with food supplies so that hot meals and food parcels were available for local residents. As a result of the pandemic, this model has been expanded to enable the combined resources to support increasing need within communities.
Councillor Matthew Reiss, Vice Chair of the Corporate Resources Committee said “Here in the Highlands, unemployment is increasing and there are around 14,300 furloughed employments. This co-ordinated response therefore ensures that food support can be provided when needs arise. The retail value of the supplies provided for the Highlands by FareShare is estimated to be valued at around a staggering £500,000 which is most welcome. However, it reinforces the social and economic impacts that the pandemic has had on people’s daily lives and underlines the ongoing need for Council teams to continue to collaborate with communities and the Third Sector to provide a steady supply of quality food.
“There are many excellent examples of collaboration working to achieve positive outcomes for individuals and families across the Highlands. For example, our two local suppliers of household goods for those who have been awarded a community care grant, also distribute and provide food support for our citizens. I would encourage those impacted by the pandemic to make use of the expertise within the Council’s Welfare Support Team (Freephone 0800 090 1004) and Citizens Advice for help and advice about the support that is available, including the benefits that are currently unclaimed.”