Funding for community larder to tackle food insecurity in Fife town

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A community larder is to open in Fife after councillors approved funding.

At the Levenmouth area committee on Wednesday, councillors agreed to give  £7768 to create a community larder provision at The Centre, Leven.

Initially the scheme will only be open to 100 people and membership will cost £2 per week.

David Paterson, community manager, told councillors: “We’ve had a fantastic response from the public with 14 volunteers signed up already.

“There is a membership fee for £2 per week that I know some members had concerns over.

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“We are saying it is money that will be spent on a weekly shop anyway, and, for £2, you’ll get more items for the cost than you would in the shops.

“There is also still a stigma around food banks and this is seen as a more dignified option to make sure no one is suffering from food insecurity. They pay into the scheme so why wouldn’t they be entitled to get food.”

Ken Caldwell, convener of the committee, said: “I was at a meeting last night and everyone was very enthusiastic about their project. It’s a good example of community led services and it’s a dignified way to get food at a low cost.”

Councillors were told that many local shops were already keen to get on board to donate food, including Stuart’s bakery.

However, councillor John O’Brien raised concerns that the £8 a month might put people off.

He said: “I’m really glad that the council is looking to help, but I am still sceptical about the £2 a week membership fee. It is a lot to people who don’t have anything and it might put them off.”

Councillor David Graham echoed this, saying: “It there is just one child going hungry in this community, I would support funding this project. But it really is one of the few places that you’d like to see go out of business because no one needs to use it.

“The size of the project, is that going to be sufficient enough? Going by statistics, there are a lot more than 100 people in the area who need help.”

Mr Paterson told them: “We see this as just a piece of the puzzle to tackle food insecurity. It is part of the big picture approach.”

The larder will be open to membership sign-up in the next few weeks, after councillors agreed to fund the project.