While many of us take three hot meals a day for granted, for many in Dundee life is not so straightforward.
With food and fuel poverty in the city at all time high, many Dundonians find it hard to even afford one hot meal a day with many having to make the choice between keeping warm and buying food.
One charity in the city has gone the extra mile in a bid to help feed those who would otherwise go hungry.
The Dundee Hearing Voices Network – also known as Haven – on the Hilltown have been running a regular meals service for people in the local area, stepping in after the Main Street Cafe at Coldside Church closed for the past month due to Christmas holidays as well as training purposes.
The Main Street Cafe has run the hugely successful Pay What You Can cafe for the past two years, offering meals to those in need but, when it closed for the festive period, Haven took over, as well as feeding regular customers, also offered other services like referrals to foodbanks and help with benefit payments.
Earl Drysdale, 63, from Strathmartine, had been a regular at the Main Street cafe and was delighted that Haven took over.
Earl said: “It’s great to come along and get a hot lunch for a small donation.
“It means that I can get a good hot meal here and then I don ‘t have to worry about what to have eat at teatime.”
Audrey Donald, 54, from the city centre said: “I’ve been coming to the Haven for 22 years. They took over the lunches while the cafe was closed and it’s a brilliant service. It can be very difficult for many people to afford to proper a hot meal every day.
“I’ve had a great lunch here and it only cost me what I could afford. Those coming along have also got access to the staff here and all the help they provide with any other issues that are concerning them.”
Manager at the Haven, Niki Lamond, said they had stepped in during the cafe closure and it had proven to be a great success.
Niki said: “We have held four Pay What You Can lunch time sessions and they have been very well attended.
“Sadly there is significant poverty in Dundee and finding enough to pay for a hot meal at least once a day is part of that.
“People can come along and pay what they can afford . If they can’t afford to pay anything then that’s ok too, everyone still gets a meal.
“It also gives us chance to meet people and show them what other services we can offer under one roof.
“We frequently refer people to the foodbanks and we can help others with benefit applications applying for work etc.
“We have had visits from representatives of the DWP along this week for example to talk to people about any concerns.”
Niki said that they hoped that providing the lunches would bring more people into the centre and help to raise their profile and let people know they were there.
She added: “We hope to be able to go on from here and extend the meal service.
“We are trialling with this one Saturday a month initially and if that is successful we can look at more options in the future.”