What we did:
During lockdown we worked together to provide a community food and hygiene bank called the ‘Lunch Stop.’ We served up to 250 families a day offering support to anyone in the community during a difficult time. This included, packed lunches, fresh ready meals, store cupboard essentials, toiletries and cleaning products.
Who we involved:
Gracemount secondary and primary school, Dunedin Canmore Youth Projects and volunteers from the community garden worked with charities such as the Cyrenians, Edinburgh Social, Social Bite and Fareshare, as well as the local food bank.
The difference it made:
This community support has been integral in tackling food poverty. Gracemount is an area of multiple deprivation and many families were already struggling before the pandemic. With so many people losing their jobs and without the support from schools such as breakfast clubs and free school meals families were hit hard. The 'Lunch Stop' provided a life line to so many and also helped to bring the community together to support each other.
Dunedin Canmore Youth Projects worked hard to involve young people in the community support. Young people volunteered at the 'Lunch Stop' during lockdown which helped to build important life skills, gave a sense of purpose and allowed them to build up volunteering hours so that they could achieve the Saltire Award. Pupil engagement was also vital in keeping the young people away from negative outside influences and provided them with positive role models.
What we will do differently in the future:
We decided that with the ongoing pandemic it was essential that this support continued and so as a community group we started the ‘Grab and Go’ service. This operates once a week and provides a bag of food / household essentials for families in need. It runs every Thursday and we are supplying a minimum of 70 bags per week. At the secondary school we are also offering a delivery service to families who are struggling to attend the ‘Grab and Go’.
This community work has shown me the importance of working collaboratively with stakeholders. We have formed positive relationships with community organisations and partners. Bringing the community together in this way will hopefully improve parental engagement and show pupils that they can contribute positively to their community.