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Crucial funding for Perthshire food poverty project

Steve Johnson, Project Manager, in the BaRi food store.
Steve Johnson, Project Manager, in the BaRi food store.

A lifeline food poverty scheme in east Perthshire has secured crucial funding of more than £24,000 to help continue its work.

The Blairgowrie and Rattray Independent Food Project (BARI) was set up last year to deliver hundreds of food parcels to local families and individuals facing economic hardship during the first months of lockdown.

The Courier: Steve Johnson, Project Manager and colleagues, with some of the Saturday Lunch Club food parcels ready to hand out. Saturday 27th February, 2021. Mhairi Edwards/DCT Media

The group has since expanded, teaming up with Perth and Kinross Council, Tesco and the Co-operative’s Fairshare scheme, to offer a wide range of subsidised services.

These include community larders, a discounted food store and a Saturday lunch club. Members also serve up free lockdown lunches for school-age children and even host family-time cookery sessions.

Proactive Communities, the team behind the project, has now secured funding from three sources to keep the operation running.

Bowls of Help being served up for struggling families in Blairgowrie

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) approved a grant of £18,149 from its Community Recovery Fund, which will help keep the scheme going until the end of the month, while the Eastern Perthshire Local Action Partnership has awarded £5,000, with another £1,000 from the Lansdowne Fund.

And the council has also supported the volunteers with a donation of a commercial dishwasher, a display fridge and freezer, reusuable containers and soup cups, and paper bags for deliveries.

The Courier: Steve Johnson, Project Manager, in the BaRi food store. Saturday 27th February, 2021. Mhairi Edwards/DCT Media

Phil Seymour, chairman of the Proactive Communities group, said: “We are absolutely delighted and very grateful to have received these funding boosts to help us continue the work we do in the local community.

“From the work we did last year during the initial lockdown period and the following weeks and months, we know that there is a demand locally for food and support.”

Mr Seymour said: “Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Proactive Communities has been at the forefront of the local response within Blairgowrie and Rattray, having been involved with development of the town’s Coronavirus Coordination Group and addressing the ongoing and changing needs of the local community as the year progressed.

“Rather than focus on a single element such as food poverty and simply address an issue for a period of time with no longevity, our approach is to develop a sustainable solution – and that doesn’t end when funding ends.

“Grants and donations such as these help support our efforts to help others while at the same time help us to become more sustainable and we very much appreciate it.”

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