Council Leader launches #MidlothianCares
To mark Challenge Poverty Week, Midlothian Council Leader Councillor Kelly Parry has today launched the #MidlothianCares campaign at Mayfield and Easthouses Development Trust (MAEDT) food pantry.
Established by the cross party Cost of Living Taskforce led by Cllr Parry, the campaign is a new initiative to offer practical supports to local people struggling with issues such as food and fuel bills.
Money for food
Councillors have approved £50,000 of Scottish Government funding for food banks and pantries to make it easier for local people to get emergency and affordable food.
Cllr Parry said: “What could be more appropriate than launching our new, multi-agency #MidlothianCares campaign at the MAEDT pantry where local people are able to buy food at prices they can afford as well as enjoy free fruit and vegetables?
“Fantastic projects like this, which will make a huge difference to local people’s lives and help them put meals on the table, are exactly the kind we want to support.”
At the full Council meeting on Tuesday 4 October, councillors are expected to approve a range of other funding supports for measures including free, re-heatable meals to be made available at three different local venues to help feed up to 200 vulnerable people five days a week for three months during the winter.
A three month pilot would offer support to 200 people to make sure they can afford to wash and dry their clothes at laundrettes once a week.
Working with trusted partners
Other help already agreed include £400,000 to expand the council’s ‘trusted partners’ – a network of local organisations offering help and support to those in need.
Heat and Eat Fund
A ‘Heat and Eat Fund’ of £279,000 will help families not eligible for Scottish Welfare supports was among the first initiatives approved by the taskforce.
Scottish Government money
The funding is among Midlothian’s £1.36 million share of an £80 million Local Authority COVID Economic Recovery Fund distributed to councils across Scotland.
Could look at warm and well hubs
Among other projects to be explored further, councillors also agreed to look at how much it would cost to create two warm & well hubs at Lasswade and Newbattle High School offering subsidised food and drink in 2023/24.
More people seeking help
Sharon Hill, MAEDT trust manager: "Our team here at MAEDT work hard to ensure we are able to provide the help and support the community needs, when they need it. We are seeing a rise in the number of people who are in need of help due to the cost of living crisis. We are strengthened by the partnerships we have with Midlothian Council and others that help us serve our community during these difficult times."
Councillor Parry added: “While we’re obviously saddened at the desperate need for our taskforce, we’re really pleased with the progress made so far.
“It’s not been the council alone. As part of the #MidlothianCares campaign, we’re working with the third sector and businesses to do all we can to try and lessen the impact of this crisis on our local communities.
“Local businesses, including supermarkets, are already offering many supports such as food for our food banks and we will be offering businesses the chance to sign our #MidlothianCares pledge to continue to do so.”