South and West Fife CLD Team’s response to the Pandemic

Rosyth EATS distribution centre

The outbreak of COVID -19 saw the Fife Council Community Learning and Development (CLD) team members offering not just support, but giving guidance on benefit claims, crisis grants and access to food and other essentials.

A Community Food Resilience Plan developed in early April 2020 meant that across South and West Fife existing food providers in communities could continue to provide access to food and non-food items for those individuals and families in crisis. When potential pressure points were identified the plan ensured a quick response could be made.

Community Food Providers working alongside the team in South and West Fife are:

  • Dunfermline Food Bank
  • EATs Rosyth
  • High Valleyfeild Sports and Recreational Club
  • High Valleyfield Fruit and Vegetable Project
  • Oakley Pantry, Blairhall Pantry, Kincardine Pantry and Inverkeithing Pantry.

These Community Pantries were set by Community Councils and local volunteers, supported by the CLD team, to offer support to residents and enable communities to access food in their own neighbourhood. Pantry Provision in Oakley, Kincardine and High Valleyfeild Community Club were established prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. To date Oakley Pantry has provided 2648 food bags; Kincardine has provided 1606 food bags; Inverkeithing Trust 1170 food bags; and High Valleyfeild Community Club 1650 food bags. These were often supplemented with fruit and veg packs. Weekly donations do not cover costs, however the CLD team were able to secure funding from Tesco, EATs Rosyth and the Celtic Supporters Club. Inverkeithing Trust have made connections with local shops and now receive food donations from Stephens the Bakers, Co-op in Dalgety Bay, Scotmid in Inverkeithing, Aldi in Dalgety Bay and Asda in Dalgety Bay.

As well as getting access to food during lockdown the CLD team helped to address a number of other issues:

Transport - The CLD staff members coordinated the use of two minibuses to help with the distribution of items and supported the transportation of children and young people to and from the Children’s Activity Centres within the area during the pandemic.

Financial Support- Welfare Support Workers assisted local people make applications for additional financial support via the Scottish Welfare Fund and other support sources.

Access to prescriptions - Helping Hands Service, a partnership between Fife Voluntary Action, NHS Fife, Health and Social Care Partnership and Fife Council, they pick up prescriptions for those who were unable to leave their home.

Loneliness - became a big issue. A befriending project to provide a friendly listening ear for those who were vulnerable, isolated or shielding. In total, 112 participants benefited from the service during lockdown.

Councillor Alice McGarry, Convener of the South and West Fife Area Committee, said “This has been a challenging year in communities across South and West Fife. It’s astonishing that we had almost 260 volunteers come forward to offer a whole range of support and services. I would personally like to thank them all.

“Without this support there would have been a lot more people in our communities struggling, not just in accessing basis essentials but financially and mentally. These are the people that build a community spirit. The Community Learning and Development staff were able to work with organisations across the area to coordinate and match volunteers to the support needed.”

The CLD teams are continuing to deliver emergency food boxes to households who have been advised to isolate or been contacted via the Scottish Governments Test and Protect.