Preserving dignity looks like it is being built into the design Scotland’s new social security system. It’s also the phrase that was at the heart of work undertaken by the Poverty Truth Commission and Nourish Scotland on the community provision of food. Consideration of how something might impact on a person’s dignity, could really transform the way we think about the delivery of public services. Here’s a great example of a community project in Aberdeen which tackles food poverty but always with a keen eye on preserving the dignity of those they serve.
A basket full of high-quality food for £2.50 may seem too good to be true – but that’s now the reality for shoppers at Scotland’s first food pantry.
The Woodside Pantry in Aberdeen provides people living in one of the city’s most disadvantaged areas a way to shop for a lot less.
It is an innovative, community-run project. The aim is to combat food poverty, and it has been hailed as a sustainable alternative to food bank use.
“I can get some really good healthy food at a very reasonable price”
For a small weekly charge, members get access to food donated by supermarkets and a local charity. Clare Whyte, one of the workers at the community centre where the pantry is based, told BBC Scotland’s The Nine: “Food banks are not a long-term solution. It’s an emergency food service, really.
“This could be a way to reduce food waste which is massive and a huge issue as we know and also tackle food poverty at the same time.
Food parcels from food banks are often only available to people who have been referred by frontline professionals like GPs or advice agencies. But membership of the Woodside Pantry was initially open to anyone living in the immediate area around the Fersands and Fountain Community Centre, where the project is based. It proved so popular that the catchment area has now been widened and the membership cap extended. Almost half of the people using the service receive benefits or Jobseeker’s Allowance. A quarter of the users are single parents. There are now 83 households with membership to the pantry, and more than 200 local residents – including children – are directly benefitting.
“I can get some very good, healthy food at a very reasonable price,” said Margaret Aisbitt, who was one of the first to sign up. Read the rest of this entry »
Good news for those communities with a hankering to visit another community where something of particular interest to them is happening, the Community Learning Exchange is once again open for business. These small awards that pay for travel and subsistence and a host fee, have proved very popular and effective – low on cost, high on impact. What is certainly true is that there is very little that is truly new under the sun and there’s no point in reinventing the wheel. There’s also much to be gained from learning from your peers.
The Community Learning Exchange is a fantastic opportunity for communities to learn through the exchange of ideas and the sharing of common solutions. When community groups make visits to other communities, the most valuable part is often meeting new people with similar interests and gaining new insights and perspectives on shared challenges. Visiting groups come away armed with new ideas and approaches, and host organisations have the opportunity to explain their project to a new and interested audience, often seeing their own projects afresh through new eyes.
What will the exchange fund?
The Exchange will fund up to 100% of the costs of a visit by members of one community to another community project up to a limit of £750, including a host fee. In exceptional circumstances (where travel distances are greater or certain aspects of the visit are particularly expensive) this limit can be increased. Similarly, visits out with Scotland, but within the UK, will be considered where a similar project does not exist in Scotland.
The Exchange will also fund follow up support between organisations. This might be as a result of a learning visit when it is recognised that more specific and on-going help, support, or advice is required. This can be through face-to-face meetings, by phone, e-mail, or skype. Funding for this kind of additional support will need to be negotiated separately.
How to apply
The Exchange operates primarily through the networks that comprise the Scottish Community Alliance. The exception to this rule are Scotland’s community councils. Since the demise of the Association of Scottish Community Councils, there has been no umbrella body for community councils.
Applications to the Exchange are processed through one or other of the networks’ designated members of staff. The exception to this rule are community councils who should apply directly to the Exchange Coordinators. Applications can be made at any time for visits throughout 2019 and up until March 2020. Funding is limited, and once it has been committed no further applications will be accepted.
Please remember, applications must be endorsed by a network that is a member of SCA unless your organisation is a community council.
Twelve discussion days are being held around Scotland in 2019 for people who are involved with heritage in their communities in any way. You might be a volunteer, someone managing a heritage site, or perhaps running a business – or just interested and actively involved.
Scottish Community Alliance will be talking about a potential new national network for community heritage. How might it work, and how might it meet your needs and wants?
What you tell them will directly influence what happens in the future, so come and join in the conversation.
The workshops are free to attend, and there will be plenty of tea and biscuits – but please bring your own lunch! Not providing lunch has enabled SCA to reach more communities.
All events start at 10.30am and finish at 4pm *except for Leverburgh which is an hour later to fit ferry times.
The research workshop tour is organised by the University of St Andrews together with the National Library of Scotland and Ergadia Museums and Heritage, and working closing with the grass-roots led Scottish Community Heritage Alliance.
The project is funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Click here for tickets to all future events.
Strathpeffer Community Centre, Strathpeffer – 31st May
Timespan, Helmsdale – 4th June
Garioch Heritage Centre, inverurie – 7th June
Blairgowrie Town Hall, Blairgowrie – 8th June
Voe Hall, Shetland – 29th June
Kyle Village Hall, Kyle of Lochalsh – 18th September
Nevis Centre, Fort William – 19th September
Kilmartin Church, Kilmartin – 20th September
Eyemouth Hippodrome, Eyemouth – 11th October
Leverburgh Hall, Isle of Harris – 25th October * starts 11.30am, ends 5pm
People volunteer for all manner of reasons and roughly half of the population do so at some point in their lives. While that might seem like a lot of people, equally it means there’s a lot of people choosing not to participate. Dig a little deeper into the numbers and it becomes apparent that around a fifth of those who volunteer do two thirds of all the volunteering work. Dig some more and you hit the problem of an aging population with its potential impact on volunteer numbers going forward.
On a local level, Stonehaven Learning partnership is hosting a volunteer event on 6th June. See picture for more details.
Volunteering in Scotland is already making a crucial contribution to building social capital, fostering trust, binding people together and making our communities better places to live and to work.
Action to increase volunteering participation for all and to address inequalities is vital to continue to expand opportunities for more people to volunteer and participate in society. Although an estimated 51% of the adult population in Scotland has volunteered at some point in their lives, 49% have not. An increase in volunteering will also make a considerable contribution towards our individual, community and national economic and social well-being, particularly in the face of demographic and societal change.
The annual value of volunteering in Scotland is estimated to be £2.26 billion.4 Volunteering is clearly of great social and economic importance to the people and communities of Scotland. Within these communities, there are often those who are more likely, or more able, to volunteer than others. Volunteers in Scotland are more likely to be:
- self-employed/part-time employed or in education
- from higher socio-economic and income groups
- from rural areas
- from less deprived areas
- healthy and non-disabled
As most of you will know, the Bettridge Centre is an important local community-owned and managed facility which offers a wide selection of activities for the whole community and for visitors. Some public consultation has already taken place and the centre has commissioned Community Enterprise to build on that positive momentum with more detailed local research. The core aim is to find out what is needed in the community and use that to set out a plan to upgrade the building to meet the needs of Newtonhill and the surrounding area.
Want to make your voice heard, take part in the survey, link below;
Scores of volunteers have signed up to help ensure Aberdeenshire’s roads and pavements are safe as the wintry weather continues.
The authority is regularly criticised during spells of severe weather for failing to clear side roads and paths.
However priority is given to maintain main roads and resources are stretched to grit and clear every single area.
In an effort to ease frustration and deal with the problem, Aberdeenshire Council launched a snow warden scheme which gives communities access to a range of resources from grit spreaders to full protective equipment.
As of this month, there are now 27 groups operating in the region, which amounts to 72 volunteers.
But the authority has issued a fresh appeal for more wardens, with the scheme running until April.
Applications are taken throughout the year for the initiative.
Last year, the region endured one of the worst winters in recent memory, with the council forced to go £2million over budget to treat the roads and pavements.
Roads bosses came under fire after towns and villages were left impassable after the traditional surface treatment was left redundant by thawing conditions, rainfall and freezing temperatures overnight.
This year the authority has already used about 23,300 tonnes of salt to treat surfaces since October, with a further 15,000 tonnes in stock and more than 7,000 expected to be delivered this month.
The council has also been trialling a new app which shows people where gritters are in real time and what routes have been dealt with.
The programme is currently only available on phones and tablets as My Aberdeenshire, but is likely to be made available on their website in the future.
There are 32 “primary routes” with 100 council drivers covering these, there have also been 120 farmers and 32 plough contractors on the roads to clear the snow in recent weeks.
For more information on the snow warden scheme visit www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk
By Press and Journal
Peterhead is asking the question of its communities, do you have an idea that would help improve the local environment in Peterhead?
If the answer is yes, then Peterhead Decides Community Choices is an opportunity to
make the idea happen. £20,000 is available to allow residents to decide what landscape or road
maintenance improvements they would like to see in the Peterhead area.
Community Choices is about local people coming together to decide how public money
should be spent in their communities, but basically it looks like this:
1. Ideas are generated about how money should be spent
2. Local people decide on their priorities
3. The ideas with the most support are implemented
Any local community, voluntary, or non–profit organisation, even informal groups or any local resident
who has an idea and is interested in improving the local environment in Peterhead can submit an idea. Projects will then be assessed for feasibility and cost and then the local community will be asked to decide which projects they think will make the biggest improvements and should be implemented in 2019.
So what makes for a good idea?
Ideas can be large or small, whether you want to improve the physical appearance to promote a positive image of the town through increasing the amount of summer bedding plants distributed for planting, improve local paths to make the area more accessible or improve the landscape to help cleanliness.
However, ideas for projects must improve the physical environment of Peterhead, cost under £20,000,
benefit as many people as possible and be delivered by the end of 2019.
Projects like Peterhead Decides are a great opportunity for communities to become involved in their local democracy, and influence decisions that matter to them.