An Aberdeen community group will be offering free meals during the October holidays to alleviate some of the financial strain on struggling families.
Members of the Fersands and Fountain community project will be handing out free breakfasts and lunches for the next two weeks as part of a wider initiative to help locals.
The charity, based in the Woodside area of Aberdeen, was set up more than four decades ago to provide valuable services and support to the most vulnerable in the area.
And with the mounting pressure of increasing energy bills and cost of living, the group is now looking to introduce a range of new projects to ease locals’ worries.
The free-meals initiative comes in direct response to a meeting, where Woodside residents shared their struggles and discussed what support they need most.
Mark Lovie, project coordinator at Fersands and Fountain, said they are concerned about what locals are going through and are determined to help however they can.
“The main thing that came up in the meeting was fear,” he said.
“People are already struggling and there is real fear about what’s going to come next.
“‘Anxious’, ‘stressed’ and ‘worried’ – these words kept repeating themselves, and most of them spoke about already having to change their behaviour to cope.
“They are cutting down on heating, thinking of how often they use hot water, turn the shower on or wash the dishes, and it’s only October.
“This is already affecting their lives, so we are looking at offering a range of services to see if we can help in any way.”
‘We want to provide a warm and friendly setting’
The project will run until October 27 at the Woodside Fountain Centre.
Residents can get free breakfast on Monday and Tuesday mornings, as well as tea and cakes in the afternoons. Free lunches will be served on Thursdays.
Meanwhile, the charity is also encouraging people to join their pantry, which Fersands and Fountain run in partnership with Cfine and FareShare.
Instead of relying on pre-made food parcels, members of the scheme pay a £3 joining fee, and then £2.50 a week for 10 items they can select themselves.
Mr Lovie added: “The things that we are doing in the next few weeks are kind of on a trial basis to see what would work best and how we can alleviate the strain a little bit.
“We also want to provide a warm space where people can come, read a book or meet with friends, without having to worry about putting the heating on and the cost of it.
“But we also want to get people out of their houses to meet other people and hopefully feel less isolated in a warm and friendly setting.”
The Press and Journal and Evening Express are working hard to alleviate food poverty by signposting readers to the help that is available to them, and where.
The Big Food Appeal aims to break down stigma, debunk the myths and ensure families across the north and north-east know where to go for food and support.