Tackling poverty and food insecurity with Cyrenians

Cyrenians have launched their summer ‘Food That Goes Further’ campaign, appealing to individuals to pledge regular support to their community food projects to help make sure that no one goes hungry. Right now in Scotland, 1 in 5 people of working age are living in poverty, with 24% of Scottish children also experiencing the effects of poverty and food insecurity.

Cyrenians are a Scottish homelessness charity, tackling the causes and consequences of homelessness. A large part of their work includes their community food projects – including community pantries, offering dignified access to low-cost, high-quality food, and cooking skills classes.

Joe Gair, Cyrenians Cook School volunteer, said: “No one should have to go hungry. Too often, people struggling to make ends meet are told what to eat, when, and who with – often, that means people just go without. This isn’t good enough. Food insecurity comes  as a result of  living in poverty, and having to make impossible choices, like paying for food or paying your rent. It isolates you from the wider  community and has a real impact on your mental and physical wellbeing.  At our Good Food projects, anyone can come, which makes getting food as well as support so much easier. From money issues to housing, once you’ve built up a relationship with someone, it’s much easier to talk about it and find out how to get help.

Cyrenians’ food projects include a diverse range of social enterprises – from Cyrenians Farm in Kirknewton, and Arnotdale House and Café in Falkirk, to their Community Cook School and Fareshare depot in Leith. Providing value to local communities, and creating employment and training opportunities, the profits raised from these projects are then reinvested back into Cyrenians’ work tackling homelessness.

Sue O’Neill-Berest, Food Education Manager, said: “Communities cannot be held responsible for food insecurity in Scotland, but community food projects are well-placed to respond to crises, and to promote dignity at a local level. That’s why our food projects make sure that people can access low-cost, high quality food, and with dignity: open to all, and where people are able to choose what they eat, and when."

Cyrenians acknowledge that the social connections created around making and sharing meals can be just as important as the meals themselves. Building strong community relationships and ensuring that people receive the support they need before they reach crisis point is a significant part of their work. In addition, they create employment and job opportunities for communities, and aid in increasing the availability of good quality food to those local communities by working in partnership with local businesses and producers to create sustainable food networks that are good for people and the planet.

Ewan Aitken CEO said: “Our community food projects are needed more than ever. We need to build on these projects – but we can’t do that alone. If you can, please support our #FoodThatGoesFurther appeal and help make sure that no one goes hungry”.

Look out for #FoodThatGoesFurther stories across social media in the coming weeks to introduce you to the people, produce, and projects that make real and lasting change.

Edinburgh's Bross Bagels are also supporting Cyrenians this month with an exclusive follow-along demo will show you how to fill your hole for good. On Saturday 26th June at 11am, Mama Bross is bringing you a cheesy Saturday morning cook show in support of Cyrenians' Food that Goes Further campaign. Tickets available here. 100% of the ticket costs are directly donated to the Food That Goes Further appeal.

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