Scottish Minister hails "fantastic" Castlemilk community meals project

Angela Constance
Communities Secretary Angela Constance helps out in the kitchen at Castlemilk Parish Church, Glasgow.

Communities Secretary Angela Constance has praised Castlemilk Parish Church in Glasgow for the "fantastic and exciting" work it does to support people living in food poverty.

She said the Community Meals Project was a great example of how locals can come together and make the lives of the those less fortunate better.

Miss Constance made the remarks during a visit to the church yesterday to make a funding announcement.

Churches across Scotland are among 16 projects to receive a share of £350,000 to help families access fresh and healthy food.

Castlemilk Parish Church and Yoker Parish Church in Glasgow, and Gorebridge Parish Church near Edinburgh will use the money to provide people with nutritious food.

Locals will also be taught how to cook fresh meals, strengthen local partnership approaches and reduce reliance on emergency food provision.

Castlemilk Community Meals provides a local response through community meals and social activities twice a month for local people to help address food poverty and alleviate social isolation - allowing them to pay what they can afford by donation or giving of their own time and talent as their method of payment.

It has ready received Scottish Government funding to help run the project.

Miss Constance, a former social worker, was shown round Castlemilk Parish Church and introduced to service users, volunteers and staff, including Deacon Paul Cathcart.

He appears in this video with the Cabinet Secretary.

Mr Cathcart said: “Ms Constance’s decision to come to Castlemilk Parish Church today is very encouraging and sends out the message that the work being done here is valued.

“We appreciate it and it says something about how people at the top of the Scottish Government are willing to engage with communities like this which instils a lot of confidence.

“The Church of Scotland has showed a lot of faith and support for the community.;

“This building was built for local people and the church is doing something new and innovative.

“The community meals are hugely popular and there are people who would normally never come near a church coming in.

“There is no stigma attached, you don’t have to have money.

“You could be royalty or the poorest person in the world but you are still welcome to come as you are".

Many churches across Scotland run foodbanks, which are also vitally important to supporting hard pressed families, who often have to make the choice between heating their homes and buying food.

Ms Constance said: “Everybody in Scotland should have access to fresh and healthy food and these projects ‎will help people across the country who are struggling to feed themselves and their families, while reducing the reliance on emergency food provision."