How we’re supplying hot meals to families during lockdown

Wednesday 24 June 2020
Young toddler leaning against cot with snuggly blanket

Coronavirus and the resulting lockdown have placed immense pressure on families. Many families who were previously getting by now find themselves heading towards crisis

Action for Children services across Scotland have been at the forefront of efforts to support these families.

In Dumfries, a partnership between Dumfries and Galloway Council and our Family Support Service in Kelloholm has seen families in the area receive hot meals through the expansion of our hugely popular Wooden Spoon Scheme.

“Thanks to funding from Dumfries and Galloway Council we are able to deliver the Wooden Spoon on a home delivery service,” said Amanda Dunsmuir, a Family Support Practitioner at the project.

“We have been delivering the Wooden Spoon group here since first getting STV Appeal funding for it and it has helped us reach out to between 10 and 20 families in the area every single week.”

Expanding services to meet needs

Usually delivered at the local leisure centre every Tuesday after school for all primary school children free of charge, the latest local funding has allowed this to be expanded to a home delivery scheme on a Tuesday and a Thursday. Amanda has seen an increase in demand on the project. Not just during the coronavirus but throughout her eight years working at Action for Children.

Since the coronavirus pandemic, Amanda estimates that a total of around 350 families in the local area are being supported by the project. Either from Wooden Spoon, our Emergency Appeal and Wellbeing Fund or through Fareshare.

“We’d been looking at how we could deliver the Wooden Spoon during coronavirus and with doorstop delivery,” she said.

“Instead of just feeding kids who came to group, we’re now feeding their siblings as well as mum and dad. Katy, who is with us as an Early Years worker, loves it. It is giving her a bit of life skills about cooking and baking.”

Community spirit

One thing that is clear from speaking to Amanda is the strength of the community spirit in Kelloholm. Although not an area without its share of problems and hit hard by poverty levels, there’s an overriding sense that everyone in the area is looking out for each other and making sure that no one is going without.

“There’s a really good community vibe here with everyone looking out for each other,” said Amanda.

“I like to think that if people have nothing then they’d let us know and we’d try our best to help. There’s certainly a feeling that you look after those around you. One of the families we work with, the lady was furloughed from her work and got some biscuits and chocolates in a food parcel from us. Later that day she delivered some treats made with those items to the office here.”

The team from the project have joined others in the area in delivering support to those most in need and these efforts have proved to be well received and very popular locally.

Amongst the efforts in Upper Nithsdale is a team of volunteers who are reaching out to single people or elderly and delivering food on a Friday. They are also doing a high tea on a Sunday, with people baking and dropping items in for these deliveries.

“We’ve had no negative feedback, nobody has said that they didn’t like something we delivered,” said Amanda.

“Everyone has been positive and grateful saying how much we’ve supported them. The village is quiet, and a lot of families are struggling but are grateful we’re here. The feedback is ‘we couldn’t thank you enough’ – we are getting that every day.”