Award-winning group is food for thought in hard times

Efforts to provide food for those most in need have resulted in special recognition for Shetland Islands Council.

The SIC’s food group won an award for its “outstanding collaboration and local authority innovation” at a ceremony in Glasgow.

Awards were presented at the Assist Facilities Management (FM) conference.

FM is an association which covers the provision of school meals, catering, cleaning and janitorial services.

It followed work by several council services and local agencies to distribute food to families on low income.

Support for families to cook healthy meals and to encourage local growing projects has also been a key part of the work.

The food group includes representatives of council services such as social work, schools’ catering and cleaning and criminal justice.

It originated in local plans for the prospect of a No Deal Brexit, with the council coordinating meetings to secure food supplies in Shetland.

But the links established continued during the pandemic, and it was soon felt the partnerships formed for community food provision had longer term benefits.

“Food Larders” were set up in some schools to make food accessible to vulnerable families supported by social work and the Anchor Project – an initiative which aims to support vulnerable families.

Last year 80 families and over 150 children were supported during the pandemic.

This support has continued, and the Anchor Team now also sources second-hand clothing for families in need of it.

Work is also under way to establish after-school food clubs.

Director of children’s services Helen Budge said: “We’ve provided food and other forms of support to many families and individuals who have needed help during the pandemic and that will continue wherever necessary.

“The collaborative teamwork by our staff and other local partners has made this possible.”


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