Thursday June 1st 2023
From left to right: Rob Murray, British Red Cross Director for Scotland, Midlothian Council Leader Councillor Kelly Parry and British Red Cross volunteer Mary Stewart.
Six hundred and seventy five reheatable meals have been delivered to low income households as part of a joint initiative between Midlothian Council and the British Red Cross.
Part of the council’s response to the current cost of living crisis, the support targets people on low incomes who cannot cook or find it challenging due to a medical condition or other circumstances.
The nutritionally-balanced food comes as vacuum packed ready meals that can be can be stored in a cupboard, before being reheating in a pot or microwave when needed.
The 13 week project is at the half way mark and is funded from Midlothian’s share of the Local Authority COVID Economic Recovery (LACER) Fund, distributed to councils by the Scottish Government.
The food is only available to people referred to the British Red Cross by specific council services or local partner organisations, and who meet the criteria for support.
The project is one of a number of initiatives agreed by the council’s cross-party Cost of Living Taskforce, chaired by Council Leader, Councillor Kelly Parry.
“We know that the cost of living crisis is hitting many people in Midlothian hard,” said Councillor Parry. “However it’s even worse for people with medical conditions or other difficult household circumstances who are struggling or unable to cook a hot meal for themselves or their family. Delivering 675 meals is a great start to this project and is going some way to helping those who need the most support.”
Rob Murray, British Red Cross Director for Scotland said:“Food is the most basic of needs, but the brutal reality is that without this service there would be many households left with nothing to eat.
“Through our partnership with Midlothian Council, we’ve already started delivering emergency food support to people in crisis, offering re-heatable meals every week to some of the most vulnerable people in our community, who can’t even get to their local food bank.
“We’ve been supporting older people who are isolated because of poor mobility, those with chronic mental illness who struggle to leave their homes and families living on the breadline.
“We know this service is making a huge difference to some of the most hard to reach people in Midlothian and it’s crucial we work with local authorities across Scotland, to ensure the most vulnerable people in our communities don’t fall into food poverty.”
Mary Stewart is one of eight volunteers delivering the meals. Once a client has been referred in, they can choose from a range of meals, including vegetarian and gluten free options, and receive 5 meals per week for the duration of the scheme.
Mary said: “The deliveries really lift the pressure off clients and also offer a bit of social interaction if they’ve been a bit isolated.”
The council and the Red Cross will explore options to continue the project once the pilot ends on 19 June. It could be extended to offered again in the winter, when demand may increase.
Details of other cost of living support and advice, including how to get help with money, fuel costs, food and clothes, is available on the council website at www.midlothian.gov.uk/midlothiancaresTweet Share on Facebook