Dishing up Dignity: Burns Night with the National Chef

Nourish Scotland Press Release

EMBARGOED: Thursday 00:01 25.01.2018


Tools and resources on how community food initiatives, including food banks, can promote and restore dignity to people experiencing food insecurity were launched today by Nourish Scotland and the Poverty Truth Commission. [1]

Scotland’s newly appointed National Chef joined volunteers at a series of Burns suppers launching the resource to commend the work of communities working towards the vision of a Good Food Nation. [2] 

Chelsea Marshall, Dignity Project Manager at Nourish Scotland said:

“Communities cannot be held responsible for, or bear the disproportionate burden of, food insecurity in Scotland. But, with appropriate investment, the community food sector is well placed to promote and restore dignity at a local level.

“This resource is a practical guide for community organisations working hard to promote and restore dignity in response to food insecurity.

“At every stage of this project we worked closely with staff, volunteers and people taking part in a wide range of community food initiatives to understand how the Dignity Principles developed by the Independent Group on Food Poverty and adopted by the Scottish Government can be implemented in practice.” [3] 

Gary Maclean, Scotland’s National Chef, said:

“I’m delighted to attend the Burns supper at the Bridging the Gap project and meet the great volunteers and people there who clearly were enjoying the good food.

“Using food and bringing people together like this by building bridges and making friendships is always amazing to see.” 

Angela Constance MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities said:

“We are committed to working in partnership to develop dignified responses to food insecurity in Scotland.  Communities have a vital role to play in this, and it is really inspiring to see how the work of organisations like Bridging the Gap is helping local people access healthy, nutritious food in dignified ways.

“I want to see more of this kind of activity across the country and I am delighted that our £1 million a year Fair Food Fund is enabling Nourish Scotland to support our vibrant Third Sector to build a community food movement in Scotland grounded in dignity and justice.” 

Caroline Mockford, Poverty Truth Commission and Scottish Food Commission said:

“In a Good Food Nation, everyone should be able to afford food and enjoy community life.

“When people don’t have any money, their dignity is all they have left. It’s in these times that communities across Scotland have worked hardest to support each other.

“We will need continued investment in community infrastructure and investment in the people of Scotland through a fairer social security system to realise the Good Food Nation vision.”

Dr. Rev. Martin Johnstone, Chair of Independent Working Group on Food Poverty said: 

“When we ask people who experience the pain of not having enough money to feed themselves and their families what needs to happen, they tell us how we could all do things better. ‘Dignity in Practice’ not only shares that wisdom but it also shows how it is happening in practice, in communities across the country.

“If we are to move away from the current dependency upon emergency food aid to something which is more wholesome and life-giving then the way that those who are hungry are listened to, learned from and involved is critical. Dignity is the core ingredient. This work shows how that is happening and encourages us to do more.”



Contact details

Elli Kontorravdis, Policy & Campaigns Manager
0131 226 1497

Notes to Editors 

[1] The tools, resources and a preview of the full report Nourish Scotland and the Poverty Truth Commission, Dignity in Practice: Learning Tools and Guidance for Community Food Providers (2018) are available online at:

[2] The resource is being launched at more than 10 community events, including Burns suppers at: Central and West Integration Network, Freedom Café, Bridging the Gap, St. Paul’s Youth Forum, Castlemilk Parish Church, and Woodlands Community Café.

[3] The resource built on the Dignity Principles developed by the Independent Group on Food Poverty and adopted by the Scottish Government to underpin its work to tackle food insecurity; and established that in practice, dignity means feeling:

  • A sense of control
  • Able to take part in community life
  • Nourished and supported
  • Involved in decision-making
  • Valued and able to contribute

Project participants:

  • 35 organisations participated in defining dignity in practice
  • 25 representatives from 10 organisations took part in the peer support programme
  • 100 stakeholders engaged over the year of the project