Southside community pulls together during Covid to tackle food insecurity!

It has been a year since a Glasgow community stepped up and worked together to address rising food insecurity in its local neighbourhood. Pollokshields Mutual Aid, a group of local residents, were initially responding to the pandemic and the related Lockdown, but the work of this local group of Glaswegians has developed over the past year to tackle the impact of growing inequality.

Katherine Wainwright on behalf of Pollokshields Mutual Aid advises “We opened the service on the 11th of April 2020 and 3 people came by on this first day. Since then, The Food Point has provided over 10,000 household food and essential items packs by delivery and collections and we continue to offer food support to around 150 households every week.  This effort has been possible only because of the commitment and efforts of Pollokshields Mutual Aid who have delivered every shift along with the incredible support and partnership of Southside Housing Association.”

Over 50 active mutual aid volunteers support The Food Point’s operations from collecting surplus supermarket foods, to cleaning, food sorting and organising social media. The Pollokshields community is incredibly diverse and The Pollokshields Community Food Point is one of the few food points that meets a wide cultural needs, 67% of people who use The Food Point identify as ”Black and Minority Ethnic”.

Katherine advises “We follow the five principles of food dignity by always offering choice and catering for halal, and other diets. One third of the people who volunteer in the service have used the service at least once and between us we speak seven languages, mirroring our community.  We believe The Food Point is a key community resource in addressing food insecurity and a great example of a “ground up” approach of communities being empowered to take action. Pollokshields Mutual Aid are delighted that The Food Point has just been recognised as a charity (SCIO SC050835) – ‘watch this space’ for our next steps.“

Ria Din, local resident, was one of those instrumental in bringing different organisations and residents together to respond to the crisis. Ria says, “I couldn’t be more proud of the collective community and agency response to the extreme challenges posed by Covid-19 in the last year.  We are all aware of that these challenges will continue, particularly for those proven to have already been at a disadvantage before the pandemic started. Those from BAME communities, the disabled and people who are already struggling financially. Let’s all make sure that community efforts to support these needs continue to flourish”.

On behalf of Southside Housing Association, Patrick Mc Grath says “As the local Housing Association, we have been delighted to support this community effort and recognise the positive impact it has on many households. In addition to all the work of the local volunteers we have also had financial support from a variety of sources to sustain this valuable community initiative.  Key donors have been The Scottish Government’s “Supporting Communities Fund”, but we have also had grants from Glasgow City Council, and we have also had donations from local businesses and charities who have all pulled together to tackle food inequality.”

If you would like to support the work of the Pollokshields Community Food Point in the coming year you can donate here

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