University student coordinates emergency food provision
Published on 23 April 2020
A University of Dundee student has organised a community-based response to coronavirus in one of the city’s most deprived areas.
As well as studying for an MSc Community Learning and Development degree at the University, Neil Campbell is also the founder and Director of RockSolid Dundee, a faith-based social action initiative in the East End of the city.
When the coronavirus crisis started impacting those most vulnerable in the East End area, Neil, supported by RockSolid development manager Audrey Thomson and their team initially set up a food larder at Douglas & Mid Craigie Church of Scotland, serving around 20 households. With the help of other city organisations, this very quickly turned into a much bigger effort.
RockSolid now distributes around 200 lunches per day to local people and families, with the larder serving nearly 100 households. The group also delivers food parcels to those isolated, vulnerable, or unable to leave their home, continuing to support those most in need in the local area.
“We have been overwhelmed by the support of the local community,” said Neil.
“Statutory bodies are working extremely hard and doing a great job to tackle the difficulties faced across the city at this unprecedented time, however they cannot do everything. That is why it is so important that we all support one another and work together to ensure that everyone can receive the support they need.
“We are working in close collaboration with Dundee City Council, Faith in Community Dundee and Dundee Volunteer & Voluntary Action in emergency food provision across the city.
“RockSolid have been asked to continue to provide support for the East End community during this period at Douglas & Mid Craigie Church. Our emergency food provision now includes emergency food parcels, including referrals from the Council, 200 daily sandwich lunches provided by Dundee Bairns and Social Bite, and a twice-weekly community larder sharing food provided by FareShare and local supermarket donations.
“We have also been humbled by the generosity of cash donations of close to £1,300. This has enabled us to purchase food and equipment and cover volunteer expenses.”
Neil is due to graduate from the University this year, having already submitted his dissertation, entitled ‘Critical Pedagogy and Faith-Based Social Action’.
“My plans for the future are to continue to develop RockSolid with the learning and critical reflection I have undertaken,” he continued. “I also hope to be able to pursue further studies or research in the area of faith-based social action as a form of community development.”
RockSolid Dundee (formerly RockSolid Youth Project) was founded as a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation in 2013. It was started as a faith-based social action initiative of Craigiebank linked with Douglas & Mid Craigie Parish Church of Scotland. In 2016 another local community organisation, Food on Friday, merged with RockSolid Youth Project to form RockSolid Dundee.
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