Chronicle Foodbank appeal - editorial content

Love is…. donating to help others in East Ayrshire this Christmas

Christmas food provision across East Ayrshire

Throughout this pandemic, East Ayrshire Council has worked tirelessly to ensure that no single person or household has been deprived of essential food supplies. Many people, through no fault of their own, have been unable to get out to the shops to buy their own provisions. Over 5000 residents, young and old, were shielding during lockdown, many people are now having to self-isolate as the testing regime is taking effect in a bid to stop the spread of the virus, and others have suffered extreme financial hardship as a consequence of COVID-19.

Phenomenal partnership working has been at the very heart of the success of East Ayrshire’s community food provision. At the peak of the pandemic, over 30,000 meals per week were prepared and delivered to families across East Ayrshire, with East Ayrshire CVO and community volunteers playing a key role in helping to ensure those who most need it have been able to access affordable and healthy food.

This support will continue throughout the festive period.

This year, for the first time, and in recognition of the continued hardship some families are facing during the pandemic, East Ayrshire Council is sending a Christmas food box to every child who is entitled to free school meals. The child-friendly food box, contains healthy produce from local suppliers, with contents the children can easily use to prepare their own snacks. The boxes will also include a £20 East Ayrshire gift card, which can be redeemed at a number of local retailers across East Ayrshire, as well as Wellbeing z-cards signposting people to further supports that are available.

These will be delivered to families between 21 and 22 December - once again very willing volunteers from within the Council and from local community groups are assisting with this.

Throughout the pandemic the Council has been working with local volunteers to establish food larders in a number of local communities, including Cumnock, New Cumnock, Muirkirk, Auchinleck, Netherthird and Logan. Arrangements are in place with FareShare, the UK’s national network of charitable food redistributors, to receive weekly supplies of excess food from other suppliers. Over 1100kg of food is delivered each week East Ayrshire Council and this is distributed to 12 community larders across East Ayrshire, providing support to over 1000 people each week.

 Several larders will remain open over the festive period - please check our website for full details.

The CVO, who operate Ayrshire East Foodbank, also opened up additional premises in Cumnock and Kilmarnock to help families and individuals most in need of support. By supplementing food supplies donated by the Council, the CVO ensures that the homeless are able to access provisions on a regular basis.  

The ‘Food for All, Food for Life’ partnership has been established to build on the excellent work that has already taken place. This inclusive initiative is being jointly lead by the CVO, East Ayrshire Council Catering Service and Vibrant Communities, with additional representation from NHS Ayrshire & Arran, EAC Education Services, Financial Inclusion Team and local third sector organisations, all working together to support communities and help tackle food inequality across East Ayrshire.

Councillor Elena Whitham, Cabinet member with responsibility for Housing and Communities said:

“We are absolutely delighted to be supporting this foodbank appeal, as part of the wider community food provision in East Ayrshire and we are grateful for the support and assistance from our partner and our volunteers in helping to make this happen.

“Many families struggle with the expense of Christmas and this year the impact of COVID-19 has only made things worse for some, and the last thing we want is for anyone to go without food at this time of year.

“Foodbanks provide an essential service for those most in need, but foodbanks themselves also rely on donations in order to keep their service running. Our caring, kind and connected communities have done a fantastic job throughout this pandemic, supporting each other and helping those shielding and self-isolating, and we need to keep this kindness going over Christmas. We can all do our bit to help and all foodbank donations will be most welcome.”

For full details on foodbanks, community larders and other support available over the Christmas period, please visit: