CFINE has been awarded Scottish Government Oral Health Community Challenge Fund grant of £74,565.69 over 3 years for its Healthy Start and Smile Project, which includes a Healthy Start and Smile Community Pantry.  CFINE is taking the lead in developing Scotland’s second of its kind, pantry-style food poverty scheme, which is expected to launch in early autumn.

The first Healthy Start and Smile Pantry (HSSP) is aiming to alleviate the pressure on food insecure parents to provide healthy food for their children by offering a family-oriented shopping experience at a fixed weekly token price.  The members of HSSP can purchase 10 items, including high quality, nutritious food items - for example, meat and fish- as well as pulses and other household items at the weekly cost of £2.50.  The aggregate value of the 10 items is £20, which is a generous ‘top-up’ to the pantry-user families’ weekly shopping.  The users of the HSSP will have an additional opportunity to receive information and access to oral health education and advice, as well as free adults’ and children’s toothbrushes and toothpaste. FareShare Grampian, the local regional centre of FareShare UK that CFINE operates, will provide good quality, in-date surplus food for the HSSP, that would otherwise go to waste. Those members who are entitled to Healthy Start vouchers/Best Start food cards will be able to redeem those at CFINE, with added value.

The pantry will be located at CFINE headquarters, on the edge of Torry and will have a key role in improving oral health in early years.  Data shows that 48% of Walker Road and 43% of Tullos Primary Schools’ P1 were identified with no tooth decay.  The national target for no tooth decay at P1 is 60%, which will rise to 80% by 2022.                

The HSSP will provide access to affordable, good quality and nutritious food and dental care products for young families living in Torry, the priority catchment area of the project.  The nutritious diet and good oral health practice are expected to improve the health and wellbeing of infants and young children.

Based on the success of the Woodside Pantry, the first Scottish pantry opened in February 2019, HSSP is expected to sign up 100 members in the first year after opening.

Dave Simmers, CEO of CFINE said:

“CFINE is looking forward to introducing the second Scottish pantry-style food poverty scheme to Aberdeen, with additional support focused on improving the oral health of infants and increasing the uptake of Healthy Start Vouchers/ Best Start Food Cards in the city. Partners of the pantry projects believe, whilst food banks address an immediate need, they are not helpful in the long term as they create dependency and erode dignity.  The Healthy Start and Smile Pantry will provide dignified, shop-like access to food, dental care products and Healthy Start Voucher bearers can redeem their vouchers for extra added value."

"Providing children with the very best start in life is crucial to improve life chances and the standard of living and wellbeing.  It is estimated that 1 in 5 children living in Torry, the priority catchment area of this project, experiences poverty at a young age.  CFINE is dedicated to supporting those families who struggle to get by."

"Based on the success of the Woodside Pantry, the first Scottish pantry opened in February 2019, HSSP is expected to sign up 100 members in the first year after opening.”

Aberdeen City Council public protection committee vice convener Councillor Lesley Dunbar, who is on the board of CFINE, said:

“As the first pantry has been such a success in Woodside, helping people access low-cost and nutritious food, it is great a second pantry is opening in another community in Aberdeen.

“The additional opportunity to get information and access to oral health education and advice is very helpful and addressing poor child dental health has been identified as a priority issue by Torry Locality Partnership.”

CFINE is working in partnership with Aberdeen-based organisations to deliver the project, including NHS Grampian, Aberdeen Health and Social Care Partnership, Aberdeen City Council, Torry Locality Partnership, Schools and Family Centres in Torry, Tullos Community Centre Management Committee, Torry Locality Partnership and the Grampian regional centre of FareShare that CFINE operates.

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