Brenda Black, CEO, Edinburgh Community Food

In light of the current Covid-19 crisis, Edinburgh Community Food’s model of delivery has necessarily changed.  In-person food and health development work (our health talks and sessions, cooking and nutrition courses and REHIS training days) ceased immediately. We have always supplied affordable and healthy food to communities, offices and members of the public through our social enterprise. However, our focus quickly shifted to home deliveries to the vulnerable, the isolated and those facing financial hardship across the city.  

With the generous donations received from members of the public we have been able to provide a dignified approach to food insecurity.  We aim to give people the means to create a meal of their choice, encouraging households to cook together.  

We're supplying several sizes and make-ups of food boxes containing fresh and longer life goods plus bread, milk, eggs an fruit juice.  We're also supplying our nutritious Take & Make DIY Meal kits (which make four generous portions).  In the previous 3 weeks we've supplied over 300 food boxes per week and 438 meal kits, providing close to 6,000 meals.

                     

We add value to our boxes by including nutrition, food storage and food hygiene information, added extras from FareShare, donated seed packs and growing instructions, fridge thermometers, basic toiletries and feminine hygiene products. We target our boxes for recipients too, e.g. for younger people in Wester Hailes or for older people via Helping Hands.

 

At present we are working in partnership with EVOC and the City of Edinburgh Council in order to upscale and deliver increased amounts of fresh produce to various city hubs, from where food can be distributed to those most in need.

In terms of food and health development work delivered by our team of nutritionists, we are moving towards online delivery. We have been hugely developing our online presence and are also successfully piloting weaning and fussy eating sessions with existing service users using Zoom, in partnership with Dr Bell's Family Centre. We’re in the process of setting up more sessions around oral health, nutrition topics and REHIS training courses, along with Q&A Ask the Nutritionist sessions. We’re looking into video content creation around cooking demonstrations.

 

We’re also working with key partners (for example, The Willow (SACRO), Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust, Home Start Leith/Dundee, Pilmeny Development Project, The Ripple Project, MILAN) to help them get food to their service users, to support them in food hygiene, offer training and to signpost to other services.

Brenda Black, Chief Executive Officer, wrote a blog for Communities Channel Scotland on 2nd April, reflecting on our response in the first couple of weeks to the Covid-19 crisis.

"Overall we've provided meals to 2,000 people and families in a week, and we're currently preparing a dignified food proposal for a city-wide network of local partnerships to increase our capacity to around 3,500 meals per week in the next phase of operations." 

You can read Brenda's blog here.