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No local foodbank in Crail, but community lunches offer vital support

Despite being characterised as a more affluent community, many people in Crail still need support. However, there is no food bank in the village, and residents much travel to East Neuk Food Bank in Anstruther.

Although the Crail community is often characterised as containing a large and affluent retired population, the recently published Local Strategic Assessment for North East Fife (by Fife Council) identified Crail as performing only similarly to comparable areas.

It does not share in the ‘better’ status of St Andrews and is adjacent to the ‘worse’ areas around Anstruther. Fifteen percent of children in Crail live in relative poverty (compared to 17 percent in Fife more generally) and around five percent of the working age population experience employment or income deprivation.

People can go hungry for many different reasons from redundancy, an unexpected bill when on a low income and Crail has a high population of retired people where fixed income pensions are strained by inflation.

The nearest food bank to Crail is the East Neuk Food Bank in Anstruther, three miles away, set up by Anstruther Church in April 2013. It provides food aid to individuals and families in need in the area. Food is donated by local churches, school groups and at an in-store collection point in Anstruther Co-op. There is also a collection point in the Co-op in Crail for the Food Bank

But there is no local distribution of food in the immediate Crail area for those in need – Crail people who need to use the Food Bank have to go to Anstruther (an expensive bus ride).

The East Neuk Foodbank is run by a Voluntary Committee, Volunteers and one part time member of staff funded through the Robertson Trust, Awards for All, and Fife Poverty Action funds, (cash donations to the foodbank are not used for wages but go to buying food, distribution and promoting the foodbank to access those in need and potential donors).

Anstruther Church is open 2 days each week and when donations are low, the Foodbank purchases additional food. Food is distributed in parcels, packed by volunteers, containing three day’s meals plus teas and coffees.

However, there are several organisations working in and around Crail where people can go for a hot meal, all are run by volunteers:

  • The Coastline Friendship Club offers home-made soups every other Friday in the Crail Community Hall. Everyone is welcome to go along, tea, coffee and baking are also available at no cost although donations are welcome. This club also helps to alleviate isolation. Around 10+ people attend. 
  • During school holidays, the Café Inc Lunch Club provides cold packed lunches one day each week, again in the Community Hall, and is open to children, young people and families. This is totally free and supported by Fife Council.
  • RVS Lunch Club is held alternate Fridays in Crail Community Hall, around 6+ people attend.
  • In Anstruther, free hot lunches are available from the Cosy Café on Mondays at the East Neuk Centre. Menus are advertised in advance.
  • Volunteers from the East Neuk First Responders will again be delivering Christmas Day lunches to the more senior members of the community who will be alone on Christmas Day. It’s simple to arrange as a free phone number is provided.