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Dundee Bairns ready to serve up continuing support to vulnerable families in school holidays

Volunteers from Dundee Bairns, with Cllr Lynne Short and staff from Tayside Contracts about to load up the food for distribution, at the Coldside Community Campus in Dundee.
Volunteers from Dundee Bairns, with Cllr Lynne Short and staff from Tayside Contracts about to load up the food for distribution, at the Coldside Community Campus in Dundee.

A Tayside project which has delivered more than 300,000 meals since its inception four years ago is ready to keep children fed during the October holidays.

Dundee Bairns also played a key role in the city’s efforts to support the vulnerable during the strict lockdown, sending out almost 60,000 packed lunches to a host of community projects.

It anticipates adding more than 3,000 to that tally during the school holiday break.

The charity’s city-wide response to the coronavirus crisis was part of a programme of half a million meals supported by the city council, through direct food deliveries or school meals payments.

Dundee Bairns founder David Dorward said: “While we are delighted to have helped to fill thousands of bellies outside of school hours with a nutritious meal, we are also acutely aware of the ongoing need within our city which continues to grow, more especially due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Over the course of the original four-month lockdown, Dundee Bairns delivered 58,643 individual cold packed lunches across 17 different community projects.

As its traditional Fun and Food programmes were impossible due to Covid restrictions, it diversified its support, working closely with partner projects in the Food Insecurity Network.

Mr Dorward said: “As restrictions have lengthened, we are once again providing an agile response to an ever-changing situation and anticipate the provision of over 3,100 individual packed lunches to support much-needed child and family provision, such as Lochee Family Fun and Boomerang Community Centre in Stobswell who we have helped to develop a fairy garden for children to play in.

“Other projects have decided to offer weekly bags of lunches for families and Dundee Bairns have been delighted to facilitate deliveries of groceries to a number of community hubs, allowing families the freedom to make their own lunches up at home,

“That will relieve some of the pressure some vulnerable families face in feeding their children during the October school holidays.”

He said the group was grateful to funders at Northwood Trust, Rank Foundation, the Siobhan Trust, the Scottish Government and the many individual fundraisers, as well as partners at Dundee City Council, Tayside Contracts, its own volunteers and those of the community projects it works with.

Dundee City Council equalities, fairness and older people spokesperson, Councillor Lynne Short said the authority was committed to tackling poverty through its support for groups such as Dundee Bairns.

“Dundee Bairns do carry out a huge amount of work to tackle holiday hunger that is experienced by children and families across the Dundee.

“We remained committed as ever to continue to tackle all forms of poverty in the city.”

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