Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser
Get involved in survey on future of foodbanks
Airdrie’s MSP is encouraging local residents to take part in a national survey on“ending the need for foodbanks”.
Neil Gray, who is convener of the social justice and social security committee at Holyrood, said: “It is a damning indictment on our society that we have a growing need for foodbanks.
“While I welcome the invaluable work they do, I like everyone else – including their operators – want to see the end to charities handing out food parcels to people who are struggling to survive on the money they have coming in.”
The Scottish Government consultation, which runs until late January, asks for views on a draft national plan including moving first from emergency food parcels to shopping vouchers, to link in with providing wider financial advice.
It would be followed by cashfirst approaches of charitable and statutory grants “to make foodbanks the last port of call”, with the eventual goal of “strengthened incomes to make sure everyone has enough income to afford food that meets their needs and preferences”.
Airdrie representative Mr Gray added: “I would urge everyone to put forward their thoughts on the plans to eradicate poverty from Scotland, and give people the chance to live without needing to ask for help to feed their families or go about their daily lives.”
The consultation adds: “The two largest foodbank networks in Scotland, the Trussell Trust and Independent Food Aid Network, have outlined a shared ambition to end the need for their services.
“We will work alongside them, their members and people with direct experience of accessing food aid to provide practical assistance in developing transition and exit strategies.
“Foodbanks are not an appropriate or long-term response to poverty, and where they are the first or only port of call, opportunities to strengthen income and prevent future hardship are often missed.”
It notes North Lanarkshire’s referral gateway as a “strong local example” of food insecurity projects, and asks survey respondents for their suggestions and thoughts on the planned actions.