Dundee Bairns distributed more than 160,000 meals
Dundee Bairns, a charity which distributes food for schoolchildren in the most heavily deprived areas of Dundee, has dished out over 160,000 meals since its launch three years ago.
Initiated in 2016 as the brainchild of former Dundee City Council chief executive David Dorward, Dundee Bairns intended to provide free meals to children during the school holidays. The charity is a regular recipient of funds from Hillcrest.
At a holiday football camp where Dundee Bairns was providing lunch to the hungry kids, Mr Dorward spoke to The Evening Telegraph about the high demand the charity has experienced since its creation.
He said: “We started back in 2016 and year on year we have found there has been an increase in the number of kids coming out to be fed. Since the roll-out of Universal Credit, the demand for the service has certainly gone up. We have provided 165,000 meals since we began.”
David highlighted an occasion during the summer which revealed the desperate need for the service.
He said: “Three fun days were held in Lochee earlier this year and we gave out 750 meals on each of the days. The queues were so long with people waiting and wanting to be fed. We are now looking to hopefully expand and have applied for a grant from the Scottish Government.”
As well as providing free meals during the holidays, Dundee Bairns has also trialled an after school club which provided hot meals to kids at primary schools in the north-east of the city.
David added: “The after school scheme ran for six months and was held five days a week. It was part of a homework club so the kids would come along after school. The key part of this was that it was providing a heated evening meal. Sometimes we had parents asking for one too. We don’t want to see any child going hungry.”
Jacquie Roberts, vice-chairwoman of the charity, said it was a “tragedy” that these kinds of charity projects are still required in this day and age.
She said: “The long-term goal is for us not be needed in Dundee. In the meantime, we want to run this not only during the school holidays but in the evenings and at the weekends too.”
The charity is now aiming to maximise the partnerships it has with community groups in the most deprived areas of Dundee.