A Menu for Change

We are working in partnership with Oxfam Scotland, Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland and the Poverty Alliance for a Scotland free from food insecurity.

Our organisations have been awarded funding from the Big Lottery Fund Scotland to undertake a three-year partnership project called ‘A Menu for Change: Cash, Rights, Food’, launched in January 2017.

The project’s overarching aim is to support a reduction in the need for emergency food aid by encouraging national and local action to prevent food insecurity and enhance and evolve the response for those experiencing crisis. Our approach seeks to ensure the underlying causes of food insecurity are addressed whilst taking a more rights-based approach to respond to current needs.

The project has four inter-connected workstreams:

  • Supporting Local Practice & Policy Development
  • Research
  • Influencing and Advocacy
  • Building a Network for Change

We recognise that practice on food insecurity is developed within an existing political and policy context. A Menu for Change engages with that context across our research, advocacy and building a network for change workstreams.

Whilst we work towards removing the drivers of food insecurity, there is also scope for more immediate change in the way that local services are co-ordinated and delivered to support a reduction in the need for emergency food aid. In order to demonstrate the transition required, the project has supported stakeholders in Dundee, Fife and East Ayrshire to develop and improve local policy and practice related to food insecurity.

 

Supporting Local Practice and Policy Development
A Menu for Change worked in partnership with key stakeholders in Dundee, Fife and East Ayrshire to develop, test and promote preventative, rights based, and co-ordinated responses to food insecurity. The Project supported stakeholders to deliver improved:

  • emergency responses – placing cash, rights and dignity at the centre – which meet immediate needs whilst addressing underlying causes; and
  • early intervention measures that prevent occurrence of food insecurity.

The Project employed an Action Learning methodology supporting key stakeholders from the statutory and third sectors to develop a shared understanding of the problems and challenges that exist and how these can be overcome, and then implement policy and practice change to better support individuals experiencing or at risk of food insecurity.

A Menu for Change also assisted in piloting new initiatives, and scaling up existing initiatives, to improve access to preventative interventions and more dignified emergency responses in each area.

Research
In October 2019, the Project launched the Found Wanting report, based on a piece of primary research designed to better understand people’s journeys leading to and following acute food insecurity, focusing in particular on the factors which may have precipitated or prevented (repeat) crisis. The research focused on two elements, ‘journeying back’ with individuals to identify earlier intervention points, and longitudinal enquiry to understand an individuals’ journey in the ‘aftermath’ of experiencing income and food crisis – including their longer-term outcomes.

Influencing and Advocacy
A key objective of A Menu for Change was to support the prevention of food insecurity and the delivery of improved responses in Scotland through evidence-based advocacy and influencing activities.

The Project shared the learning and evidence generated through our practice development and research workstreams with UK, Scottish and local government as well as third sector stakeholders to inform and improve policy and practice on preventing, and responding to, food insecurity.

Building a Network for Change
Another objective of A Menu for Change was to support key stakeholders to be part of a Scotland-wide movement which challenges the drivers of food insecurity, calls for socially just solutions, and highlights and promotes rights-based and preventative responses. The Project delivered a range of activities to support this objective including: regional networking events; a national conference; national and local media engagement; and social media engagement.

 

For more information about the A Menu for Change project please visit our regularly updated project page.