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Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell thanks lockdown community food heroes and charities for their hard work during coronavirus pandemic

By Ian Duncan

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Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell.
Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell.

Scotland's Communities Secretary has thanked charities and local authorities for their “incredible” work to help people across Scotland access food and other support during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.

Aileen Campbell, the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, was speaking following meetings with charities including Cash for Kids and The Food Train.

She heard about their achievements over the lockdown period and the specific challenges in tackling food insecurity.

The MSP said: “From volunteers cooking in their kitchens to grassroots organisations, national charities and our local authority partners, I’m grateful to all of our community food heroes for their incredible work to support people most affected by the pandemic.

"They had to react quickly, working in new ways to meet vastly increased demand and they tackled the challenge head-on.

“Across Scotland, people from all walks of life are experiencing harms related to this virus, including increased financial hardship and difficulties in accessing food, and there is no one size fits all response.

“As part of our communities funding announced in March, we have committed over £110 million to tackle food insecurity. By working flexibly with community food distribution groups and local authorities across Scotland, we have ensured that funding reaches those best placed to offer support.

“We have also provided an extra £27.6 million to Local Authorities to support people at-risk over the summer months and enable the continuation of free school meals during the holidays.

“By more than doubling the Scottish Welfare Fund and providing flexibility through the Food Fund, people in financial crisis have been able to access both cash and food based support.

“As we look ahead, it is vitally important that we continue to hear directly from organisations on the front line about the challenges in Scotland’s communities. Our partnerships with third sector organisations and local authorities will be crucial as we begin the journey towards recovery and renewal and in achieving our long-term ambition to end the need for emergency food aid”.

Cash for Kids has been working with grassroots groups across Scotland during the pandemic, many of which have had to adapt activities within their organisations and are reaching out to support families they know and work with in their communities.

With £500,000 support from the Food Fund, it has provided hardship funds to local charities to help them towards food, fuel and other essentials during the Covid-19 pandemic, reaching over 20,000 families. Groups can choose how best to distribute the funds to families including by vouchers, food parcels or assisted shopping.

The Food Train was awarded £241,515 by the Scottish Government to support its response to Covid-19 and better support older people across Scotland. This is part of the £70 million Food Fund that was being used to bolster community food provision.

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