A programme which provides meals to children in areas of multiple deprivation in Dundee during school holidays has clocked up a major achievement in just over two years.
Dundee Bairns – formerly the Fun and Food Programme, which won an Evening Telegraph Community Spirit Award for Health and Wellbeing last year – delivered its 100,000th meal since starting out in 2016.
The group marked the occasion by delivering 500 meals to those attending a fun day at Lochee Park – its biggest number of deliveries to any single project.
David Dorward, former chief executive of Dundee City Council, set up the programme as he wanted to start a school holiday meals service in the city.
He said: “Two years ago when we started doing this I didn’t think we would be doing that number of meals.
“In November last year, Dundee Bairns was a joint recipient of the proceeds from Hillcrest Housing Association’s 50th anniversary dinner which provided the charity with a donation of £25,000.
“In addition we have received many other smaller donations from local and national charities.
“We are also deeply indebted to Tayside Contracts which does breakfasts and the foodbank to whom we go for cereal.”
David said that, by April, more than 83,000 meals had been delivered to primary-aged children in some of the most deprived areas of Dundee and he was delighted to have now reached the 100,000 meals mark.
The meals provided are made up of cold food including wraps, rolls, salad boxes, fruit and water.
The group delivers meals to about 60 projects in some of the more deprived areas of the city, including Fintry and Whitfield.
David added: “We only deliver to projects that are taking place in these areas, and they have to be free to the children or at such a cost that we believe it’s affordable.
“Without these projects we wouldn’t have an outlet through which to hand the meals out.”
Projects range from PAMIS (Promoting a more inclusive society) which works solely with people with profound and multiple learning difficulties, to Little Stars, based at the City Church.
David added: “Among many others, we also work with Fintry 5 to 9s, catering for that age group, and Braeview Academy Transition Group in Whitfield which brings children who are moving up from primary school in for a week.
“We supply the meals.”
The programme was piloted in Lochee in April 2016 as the Fun and Food Programme, when 400 meals were provided.
However, things really got going in the summer of 2016 when it delivered more than 19,000 meals. From then until October last year the programme delivered more than 50,000.
Main funders of the project are Cash for Kids and the Northwood Trust. Funds donated by them are matched by the city council which also provides the charity with vans and delivery drivers.
The group also piloted a new Dundee Bairns Tea Club from last November until March at which it provided a two-course, hot evening meal to homework and after-school clubs across five primaries.
David added: “We’d like to continue that but need to get more funding. However, when you look at the children and the benefit it has for them, it can be very rewarding.”