Since the pandemic, our services have changed a lot and we have updates to share with you about our new projects involving food.


Both our dry and fresh food parcels projects were halted by the Covid-19 pandemic, as we didn’t have the space or capacity to adapt to a safe, physically distanced operation. With emergency Covid funding, for a time we were able to provide digital supermarket vouchers to asylum seekers, not only our community members in Govan but people living across Glasgow.


Meanwhile, GCP was commissioned by Scottish Government to conduct participatory action research into food insecurity experienced by people seeking asylum and the current provision of food aid support in Glasgow. The project brought various stakeholders into discussion and looked to elevate the voices of people with lived experience of the issues in focus. The research employed a coproduction methodology, and a research group of people with lived experience was formed. Read the full report here.


At GCP we place dignity at the centre of the design and delivery of our work, and champion a rights-based approach. We support a ‘cash first’ approach to tackling food insecurity – that is, the prioritisation of accessing income or crisis cash payments, rather than emergency food aid, as a response to food insecurity. However, as there are limited avenues for financial support for people with no recourse to public funds, we are now opting to distribute vouchers as a less stigmatising form of support for our community members.


The voucher model presented a new opportunity for us to provide a more dignified way of addressing food insecurity, offering more flexibility and choice than a food parcel. The prospect of returning to the foodbank model felt like a step backwards, with all its operational challenges and the lack of dignity for service users. We’ve therefore been busy exploring ways we can support asylum seekers with alternatives to traditional food aid support.


So, thanks to funding from the Hugh Fraser Foundation, GCP have developed a new service to provide referral ‘vouchers’ for asylum seekers so that they can access their local Pantry for free. A Pantry is a community shop that runs on a membership model, and relies on food surplus similar to a foodbank. However, unlike a foodbank, pantries stock everything from fresh fruit and vegetables, dry and tinned food, chilled and frozen food, toiletries, nappies and cleaning supplies – and so offer much more choice for their customers. For more info on this project, click here.


In addition, we also provide emergency supermarket vouchers for people who become destitute when their Home Office support has been stopped, or are otherwise experiencing an emergency or crisis. This project is funded by ad hoc donations. Rather than physical donations of food, cash donations offer the people who are destitute the dignity of choosing the food they need – especially important for those who don’t have access to cooking equipment. Even the smallest donation goes a long way, and every penny donated goes directly into the pocket of someone who needs it – we don’t spend these donations on charity running costs. For info about donating, click here.


Without a face to face operation involving food, we wanted to find a new way to involve our food volunteers. Our volunteers were invited to join the Food Participatory Action Research Group, who continue to meet on a weekly basis to discuss food insecurity issues experienced by asylum seekers and improve access to food in Glasgow. Funding from Vegware has been vital for keeping the group going, providing travel expenses for site visits and mobile data to allow group members to meet online.