Partnership Approach Provides Food Support for Highland Households
25th February 2021
To help mitigate the persistent uncertainty and challenges arising from the pandemic, the Highland Council continues its humanitarian support, in partnership with the Community Food Initiative North East (CFINE), which operates FareShare Scotland in the north of Scotland.
With funding from the Scottish Government and donations from supermarkets and food suppliers, FareShare, the Highland Council, local community groups and the Third Sector have adopted a collaborative and co-ordinated approach to food support for the wellbeing of households across the Highlands.
Since the initial lockdown began in March 2020, FareShare has provided approximately 374 tonnes of quality food to the Highlands, which is estimated to be equivalent to over 900,000 meals. The 277 tonnes received by the Council continues to be delivered to individual households, with the vast majority being distributed across the network of community groups and used to provide cooked meals and food supplies within local communities.
The Council's partnership with FareShare was first established in February 2019 to alleviate food insecurities for Highland households. At that time, as well as providing doorstep deliveries to individual households, the Council began to develop partnerships with a network of faith groups, charities and other support groups that were all involved in food distribution. This model enabled the Council to provide the network with food supplies so that hot meals and food parcels were available for local residents. As a result of the pandemic, this model has been expanded to enable the combined resources to support increasing need within communities.
Councillor Matthew Reiss, Vice Chair of the Corporate Resources Committee said "Here in the Highlands, unemployment is increasing and there are around 14,300 furloughed employments. This co-ordinated response therefore ensures that food support can be provided when needs arise. The retail value of the supplies provided for the Highlands by FareShare is estimated to be valued at around a staggering £500,000 which is most welcome. However, it reinforces the social and economic impacts that the pandemic has had on people’s daily lives and underlines the ongoing need for Council teams to continue to collaborate with communities and the Third Sector to provide a steady supply of quality food.
“There are many excellent examples of collaboration working to achieve positive outcomes for individuals and families across the Highlands. For example, our two local suppliers of household goods for those who have been awarded a community care grant, also distribute and provide food support for our citizens. I would encourage those impacted by the pandemic to make use of the expertise within the Council’s Welfare Support Team (Freephone 0800 090 1004) and Citizens Advice for help and advice about the support that is available, including the benefits that are currently unclaimed."
Highland Council has announced that the closing date for applications to the Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Driver Support Fund this scheme has been confirmed as 5pm on Thursday 25 March 2021. The Scottish Government has also now clarified that if you have received a grant through the Taxi Fund this will not now affect any Universal Credit payments you are also receiving.
To meet the growth in visitors to the Highlands of Scotland, The Highland Council's Tourism Committee has agreed a Visitor Management Plan for 2021 which will be adapted to provide a 5-year plan for the future. The Council will work with other agencies involved in tourism and visitor management to deliver the plan.
On Thursday 6 May residents in the Highlands and Western Isles can have their say on who represents them in the Scottish Parliament. In order to vote in the election, residents must be on the electoral register.
The Scottish Government has just announced that the Strategic Framework Business Fund grant scheme will close to new applicants on 22 March 2021. The Highland Council has already assessed and approved 5178 applications for this grant fund.
The Highland Council has opened applications for the Highland Employment Recruitment Offer (HERO), which offers grant support of up to £6,000 to help employers meet the cost of recruiting and employing someone who fits the criteria. Full details of the HERO fund can be found on the Highland Council website , and we have summarised the key eligibility criteria below.
The Highland Council will be removing padlocks and any other attachments from the Coghill Bridge at Wick Riverside. These padlocks detract from the historic nature of the bridge as well as causing paint damage and encouraging rust spots to the recently refurbished guard rails.
Highland Council has said that illegal fly-tipping is costing the region's taxpayers thousands and is encouraging people to report anyone they see doing it. Council operatives were alerted to an incident of fly-tipping at the Attadale Estate on the A890 at Strathcarron, where 153 tyres were dumped at the side of the road.
A letter has been distributed today to update parents and carers on the next phase of the re-opening of schools in Highland. The Scottish Government announced last week that more pupils are to return to school (external link) from Monday 15 March.
The Highland Council Trading Standards team have been alerted to a smishing scam that is currently targeting Highland residents. The scam involves a text message claiming to be from Royal Mail advising the recipient that they are holding a piece of mail due to unpaid postage.
The First Minister announced yesterday (2 March 2021) to the Scottish Parliament that all remaining primary school children are to return to school full-time from 15 March, with all secondary pupils returning in some form from the 15 March and until the 2 April. Welcoming the announcement, Chair of the Education Committee, Cllr John Finlayson said: "I am delighted that we can see the return of more of our pupils to school settings in the next couple of weeks.