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The social value of food: everyone is welcome

EATS Rosyth

Author: Ethan Daish, Food Project Manager.

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Who we are

EATS Rosyth's mission is to improve the experience of living in Rosyth from our Community Garden, Centenary Orchard and Community Hub. We have five outcomes that shape our ethos and programming, that people in Rosyth will:

  1. Have increased access to nutritious food

  2. Have increased access to the natural world

  3. Experience reduced social isolation

  4. Have increased access to fulfilling volunteering opportunities

  5. Have increased access to community-led activities.

Implementing the Dignity Principles

Involved in decision-making

Our community and especially our volunteers have a say in the services EATS Rosyth provides. We listen to feedback and ideas. Over recent months our Hub Opening Subcommittee has been working on tasks to help make the opening of the new Rosyth Community Hub a reality. This group is made up of staff, board and volunteers – some who have direct experience of food insecurity and are regular customers in the hub.

Able to take part in community life

We don’t just share food at EATS Rosyth. We understand that its biggest value lies in bringing people together. Many of the people we see experience social isolation and depend on the interactions their community project gives them. One of our volunteers and service users who comes along to our sit down meals and volunteers across the project, said recently: 

“It’s nice company. All the staff and volunteers are nice people. If it wasn’t here I’d be devastated. I wouldn’t know what to do with myself” – Colin, 58.

The new Rosyth Community Hub is being designed with social benefit in mind. There will be a cafe and a variety of social space so that people can come together around food. There will be less of a focus on simply filling someone’s bag with food and seeing them leave after just a few minutes.

Valued and able to contribute

We are always looking for more volunteers and more people to get involved with the project. In fact, we’ve recently started a recruitment drive to get more people on board at the new hub in specific roles where they can develop skills. It’s not always easy to keep a large number of volunteers involved but by creating a team ethic based around dignity, people generally feel part of taking the project in the right direction.

“It’s a two-way thing – it’s rewarding for me because it gets me out of the house and allows me to socialise, in the industry I’m acquainted with, and I enjoy helping others.” – Angie, 53.

“It’s a wonderful community. It’s so friendly, plus it helps me get out and learn new skills to help me find jobs. Plus it gives me the chance to communicate with peers.” – Jennifer, 20.

A sense of control

We make the effort to ensure people have choice when they come to Rosyth Community Hub and this will continue when the project moves premises. When people are coming in to shop for food, we try to make it a real shopping experience. People choose for themselves from what’s on offer. It’s important that we’re not just handing over a bag of food.

Working with challenges

Working with surplus food presents a lot of challenges when trying to ensure dignity. The prevalence of surplus food when tackling food insecurity has created a two-tier food system which ends up with the least fortunate having to make do with older food that is often of questionable quality and nutritional value. It’s also difficult to make it sustainable and because its use is so widespread, supply issues can mean regular restrictions. It’s for these reasons, among others, which has led EATS to aim for a future where surplus food is less of a focus.

Dignity tools which have helped us

Oberving dignity in practice

The dignity spectrum: dignity is in the detail

Our Commitment to Dignity

 These activities helped us develop ideas during the planning phase, and just being able to display the poster provided in 'Our Commitment to Dignity' which contains the dignity principles, for example, is really nice.