More food support for homeless people

Homeless people and others affected by the coronavirus outbreak are to receive further support through the Scottish Government’s emergency funding for communities.

Aileen Campbell, communities secretary

In March, communities secretary Aileen Campbell announced a £350 million package of funding to help tackle harms caused by the pandemic, including a £70m Food Fund. More than £40m extra funding has since been committed for food initiatives, increasing the total to £110m.

Social enterprise Social Bite has been awarded an additional £48,500 for its COVID-19 response, with its funding since April now totalling £700,000. Its team have delivered 500,000 food packs and meals to people in need in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow since April.

Speaking following a visit to Social Bite’s central kitchen in Livingston, Ms Campbell said: “Like many community groups and charities, Social Bite’s team have worked hard making and delivering meals as well as offering a free takeaway service for those most at risk. I want to thank everyone who has supported people through this time.

“Sadly, the demand for such services highlights the terrible impact of the pandemic on people from all walks of life.

“We have provided flexibility through our £110m funding to tackle food insecurity so people can access both cash and food-based support. This includes funding for free school meals over the summer holidays, food boxes for those who were shielding and support for people facing financial hardship. We have also more than doubled the Scottish Welfare Fund.

“Anyone worried about being able to access food should contact the National Helpline on 0800 111 4000.”

Josh Littlejohn, co-founder and CEO of Social Bite, added: “As soon as the pandemic hit, we saw that food poverty was going to be a major issue for our most vulnerable communities, so we re-purposed Social Bite’s entire infrastructure to provide free food for those who needed it.

“Thanks to support from the Scottish Government, the business community and the public, we were able to mobilise extremely quickly. Since the pandemic began, we have distributed more than 500,000 food packs. This funding will help us provide further support for homeless people and other vulnerable groups in our communities amid the acute challenges of COVID-19.”

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