The Good Food in Tackling Homelessness programme, developed and operated by the Edinburgh Cyrenians, is designed to help individuals with experience of homelessness improve their health through positive nutrition. The programme is comprised of the FareShare enterprise (re-distribution of surplus food to homelessness agencies, up to 8 tonnes delivered each week around the capital and in West Lothian), ‘Cooking at Home’ classes (giving people essential skills in cooking and teaching them about healthy eating), and a range of networking activities which promote healthy eating policy and practice, locally and nationally (including an annual citywide Food Forum).
The operation also engages 50 to 70 volunteers at any one time, most of whom have experience of homelessness. These volunteers receive skills training and personal support, and volunteering helps many to overcome the obstacles of isolation, substance addiction and loneliness. The project offers volunteers the opportunity to make a positive contribution and make the transition from being the helped to being the helper, it enhances their employability (previous volunteers have gone on to part-time and full-time employment, as well as further education), and provides a caring environment where self-confidence, team work, resourcefulness and motivation can develop freely.