New Food Banks Partnership aims to offer support in wake of welfare reform

New Food Banks Partnership aims to offer support in wake of welfare reform
Food Banks Partnership Aberdeen

A project to help people avoid developing a dependency on food banks in light of changes to the benefits system was launched in Aberdeen on Monday [07 October].

The Food Banks Partnership Aberdeen aims to coordinate food banks in the city while guiding users towards services that can prevent them becoming reliant on these resources.

The partnership includes Aberdeen City Council, social enterprises Community Food Initiatives North East (CFINE), Instant Neighbour Trust and Aberdeen Cyrenians.

It was established in light of recent changes to the benefit system, most notably the under-occupancy charge, which has resulted in many families and individuals in the north-east of Scotland struggling to cope with even a small loss of income.

The use of food banks has been one of the responses to address these changes, but local charities are growing concerned about people becoming dependent on them.  The Food Banks Partnership wants to help users reduce their reliance on these resources so they can move away from poverty all together.

This will partly be achieved through the use of a smart card which will be distributed to food bank users who will use the cards to access food bank services in the city.

The smart cards will help assess the frequency people are using food banks and identify those who may require additional support.

Once identified, Individuals will then be introduced to services and resources that could assist them in reducing their dependency on food banks. This could include money advice, debt management and household budgeting services or even employment opportunities.

CFINE Chief Executive Dave Simmers said: "There will always be people who need additional help and support, however, it is important to act responsibly and work with each individual to help them build resilience for the future”.

The other organisations involved in the Food Banks Partnership are Integrate, Torry St Fitticks Church, Apex, Bethany Christian Trust, Fountain of Love Church, Salvation Army, Middlefield Community Project, Fersands and Fountain Community Work Project, Printfield Community Project, Seaton Rehabilitation Project, HomeStart, Grampian Housing Association and North East Scotland Credit Union.

Any other group interested in becoming involved in the project should contact Ailsa Duncan, Food Banks Partnership Aberdeen Manager, on 01224 596156.