Major Scottish charities are combining in a project to help people in deprived communities combat food insecurity.

They will work together to provide co-ordinated support aimed at reducing the need for and reliance on emergency food aid.

Local groups in three pilot areas – in Dundee, East Ayrshire and Fife – will work intensively to ensure people access statutory and cash-based crisis support, including the Scottish Welfare Fund.

They will also promote alternative, dignified ways of supporting those who are food insecure, such as community cafes and food cooperatives.

The project – called A Menu for Change: Cash, Rights, Food – is a partnership between Oxfam Scotland, Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, Nourish Scotland and The Poverty Alliance.

Anela Anwar, Oxfam Scotland programme manager, said: “We are really pleased to be working with local partners in these three areas but we are determined to learn lessons to inform the response to food insecurity right across Scotland.

“It is a scandal that while shops in Scotland are stuffed full with food so many people’s stomachs are empty because they can’t afford to buy food.

“A Menu for Change is working to prevent foodbanks from becoming a permanent part of Scotland’s social security net. Even at a time of crisis, everyone in Scotland should have the money they need to feed themselves and their families, and buy other basic essentials.”

Latest figures show a growing hunger problem in Scotland, with the number of emergency food aid packages handed out by the Trussell Trust increasing by more than 900% in the three years up to 2015/16.

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