It’s great to be part of a larger network, thank you for inviting us. We're looking forward to taking our café on this journey with you” 

Edinburgh Community Food supports low income and vulnerable people across the city to source and consume healthy, affordable food. We have also supported the city’s Community Café network since its inception. The network provides out-of-home dining that is affordable and nourishing, in secure and welcoming spaces. If you run a community cafe in Edinburgh and would like to know more about our Community Cafe Network, please contact Jo Howie at [email protected] or call 0131 467 7326.

One of our community cafe-based projects was our Take 5 Access project, which offered support to both Edinburgh’s communities and cafe staff and volunteers. 

What did we do? 

Take 5 Access was a 12-week themed programme to improve: access to healthier food, advice and partnership support services in a friendly, inclusive local setting for multiple vulnerable communities. Our project reduced the risk of food insecurity, increased opportunities for healthier food both within and out of the home, provided skills and resources to use healthier food and supported people through signposting processes, including cash-first resources.

Located in 20 community cafes citywide and using a different theme each week, the Take 5 reached young families, black and minority ethnic groups, people facing food insecurity, café staff and volunteers and referrals from community partners. Each café selected 20 community members to receive a Take and Make DIY Meal Kit with online cook-along sessions. Families were provided with access to free meals on site for children, fruit to take home and subsidised (Pay It Forward) meals for adults. 

ECF also supported our partners CHAI and Granton Information Centre to provide “Ask & Act” information points with supplied tablets, allowing people to receive supported signposting where staff take people through the process of applying for support.

Community Cafe Take 5 display at the Eric Liddell Centre


Beyond supporting communities, Take 5 assisted and provided a legacy for staff and volunteers by developing a package of resources and practical support, including:

  • weekly supply of fresh ingredients/recipes with nutritional breakdowns;
  • raising awareness of money saving;
  • developing local supply chains;
  • energy efficient cooking/waste reduction;
  • REHIS-accredited training and support for signposting points.

REHIS Elementary Nutrition Training Course

Changeworks Advice Session at The Mill Cafe, Balerno

Family enjoying tomato and bean soup at Eric Liddle Centre Cafe Connect

The Take 5 Access project is funded by the Scottish Government, Population Health Directorate, Health Improvement Division