Funding aimed at tackling food poverty has been allocated to 26 Scottish projects
Deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced £518,000 of grants during a visit to Greater Maryhill Food Bank, which last week alone provided food to 131 individuals, feeding 52 different families.
Lead organisations Citizens Advice Edinburgh and Edinburgh City Mission will receive the bulk of Edinburgh’s allocation, with The Rock Trust and Bethany Christian Trust also receiving funding.
In April, the Scottish government announced £1m to support the work of food providers through the Emergency Food Fund, half of which has been allocated to the charity FareShare, which redistributes surplus food from retailers to charities supporting communities. The Emergency Food Fund (EFF) opened for applications in June, and today’s s announcement sees the remaining £518,000 distributed among 17 local authority areas.
EFF was established to support projects which respond to immediate demands for emergency food aid and help to address the underlying causes of food poverty, and grants have been allocated 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.
The Trussell Trust charity said the number of people who used their food banks in Scotland between April last year and March this year rose to 71,428 – FIVE TIMES the number which used them during the previous financial year.
Ms Sturgeon said: “The amount of people experiencing food poverty in Scotland is simply not acceptable. Worryingly the Trussell Trust has seen a 400 per cent increase in people using food banks between April 2013 and March 2014 which includes more than 22,000 children using these services.
“Welfare reform, benefit delays, benefit sanctions and falling incomes are all having a detrimental impact on the people of Scotland.
“Today I visited Greater Maryhill Food Bank, which is one of 35 food aid providers operating in Glasgow. Working in partnership with other local agencies, our Emergency Food Fund will help food aid organisations, such as this one, combat food poverty.
“Most people recognise that the increase in food bank use is directly linked to welfare reform and benefit cuts, and this fund is another example of what we are doing to mitigate the harmful effects of Westminster’s welfare cuts. However, the impact is still being felt by the most vulnerable in our society.
“One million people in Scotland are now living in relative poverty after housing costs, including more than 200,000 children.
“What is even more worrying is that 70 per cent of the welfare cuts are still to come – Scotland will see its welfare budget reduced by over £6 billion by 2015/16. And some estimates suggest that up to 100,000 more children could be living in poverty by 2020 if we continue with Westminster policies.
“It is vital that we gain the full powers of independence in order to build a better Scotland – one that protects people from poverty and helps them fulfill their potential in work and life.”