June 4, 2014
A £500k sticking plaster
In just a few short years, food banks have become a regular feature of the social landscape in our towns and cities. The initial sense of outrage that so many people lack the resources to feed themselves seems to have given way to a kind of resigned acceptance. And the number of people using food banks continues to grow – by 500% in the past twelve months. Scottish Government has just made an extra £500,000 available for local organisations who provide food aid within their communities. Better still if we could tackle the root cause.
Food aid organisations are now able to apply for funding through the £500,000 Emergency Food Fund (EFF).
The Scottish Government fund is part of a £1 million investment in food aid, with £500,000 already committed to charity FareShare which redistributes surplus food from retailers to charities supporting their local communities.
According to the Trussell Trust, the number of people who used food banks in Scotland between 1st April 2013 and 31st March 2014 rose to 71,428 compared to 14,332 people in the same period of 2012 to 2013.
EFF will support projects which respond to immediate demands for emergency food aid and help to address the underlying causes of food poverty.
Applications are invited for larger grants, up to four of which will be awarded at between £30,000 and £50,000 each. Smaller grants of up to £10,000 each will also be awarded, with £1000 being the minimum value for any individual grant.
Grants will be given to projects that concentrate on preventing food crisis recurring, those that build connections between food aid providers, advice and support agencies and organisations working to promote healthy eating and reduce food waste.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“The amount of people experiencing food poverty in Scotland is simply not acceptable. Welfare reform, benefit delays, benefit sanctions and falling incomes are all having a detrimental impact on the people of Scotland.
“The Scottish Government’s Emergency Food Fund will help food aid organisations combat food poverty in Scotland by working in partnership with other local agencies. I urge relevant organisations to apply.
“One of the most depressing trends over the last few years has been the rapid rise of food poverty in our country.
“The only upside to this is seeing communities come together, gathering and distributing food for those in need. It is important that we support these people and organisations through initiatives such as the Emergency Food Fund.
“Most people recognise that the increase in foodbank use is directly linked to welfare reform and benefit cuts. Only an independent Scotland will have the full powers we need to protect people from poverty and help them fulfill their potential in work and life.”