Charities, Area Partnerships, local Resilience Groups, businesses and individual volunteers have joined together across East Lothian to ensure local people struggling to access food can do so.

Groups are doing tremendous work to transform, expand or set-up food services that will make a real difference to vulnerable residents

Large established charities such as East Lothian Foodbank and the Basics Banks in Musselburgh and Dunbar have been joined by local community-led projects such as Dirleton Good Neighbours Community Larder. Many local groups, such as Our Community Kitchen in Haddington and the Pennypit Community Development Trust’s Fundamental Foods project have transformed the way they provide support and are delivering meals to vulnerable households. Businesses such as the Mercat Grill in Whitecraig have also become involved, providing soup and sandwiches to local homes.

Fresh Chicken Dinner Boxes have provided fresh meal kits to people in need as well as prepared meals that can be microwaved so that people in temporary accommodation can still get nutritious home-cooked food. Meanwhile the council is also making deliveries each week of food packs for families in receipt of Free School Meals, providing support to shielding households, and delivering meals to adults who attended either a resource centre or lunch club. 

  • East Lothian Council is delivering 5000 food packs a week to families in receipt of Free School Meals 
  • Since 21 March, Fundamental Foods has distributed over 4200 meals/food bags to around 2100 homes in Prestonpans area, and over 3200 to 1300 homes in Fa’side area. Each area currently provides around 1000 meals/food packs a week
  • Port Seton has provided 1092 meals a week, supported 65 children with breakfast packs, and families with shopping essentials
  • Heavy Sound has distributed 1750 Social Bite lunches and ready meals 
  • Fresh Chicken Boxes has increased its deliveries from 45 fresh meal kits to 106 per week
  • The Mercat Grill has delivered an average of 215 soup and sandwich lunches to Whitecraig residents each week Monday to Friday.

Many of the groups providing essential food are staffed by volunteers and rely on external funding. The economic impacts of COVID-19 means that many of these groups are seeing increased demand for their services. The council has given Area Partnerships £100,000 from the Scottish Government Food Fund to support food initiatives and delivery of food across the six areas. It has also contacted each of the groups to find out what additional support they might require through its East Lothian Food Friendly Network and have helped set up a new “Fareshare Hub”. The Hub opened on Monday at Port Seton Community Centre and county groups can use it to access supermarkets’ surplus food through the Fareshare distribution scheme. More information on the Fareshare Hub is available from

Cabinet member for Community Wellbeing, Councillor Jim Goodfellow, said: “It’s amazing to see the way that communities have pulled together to support those in most need. For residents who already faced challenges accessing food, COVID-19 and lockdown has made this even more difficult. Groups large and small across East Lothian are doing tremendous work to transform, expand or set-up food services that will make a real difference to vulnerable residents. We are all grateful to all of them for their work.”

Anyone one who is experiencing issues with buying or accessing food can call East Lothian Council for help on 01875 824300 or email.

Detail of food provision in East Lothian is available online.

Published: Thursday, 30th April 2020