Community Cafes are special places, often run as a social enterprise, fundraising or training opportunity. All offer a friendly welcome and inclusive space for community groups to meet.
Some community food hubs support the wellbeing of the elderly in their area, offering lunch clubs for dementia groups and help to reduce isolation for carers. The support of volunteers helps to ensure the ongoing success of the community café network across Edinburgh.
Here are some of the cafes in the network. Please let us know of others and tell us about your favourite café!
|Café Connect, Eric Liddell Centre||Merchiston|
|Hub Grub Community Café||Lochend, Restalrig|
|North Edinburgh Arts Community Cafe||Muirhouse, Pilton|
|Out of the Blue Drill Hall||Leith Walk|
|Sycamore Tree Café||Davidsons Mains|
|The Space, Broomhouse Hub||Broomhouse|
Food Banks and Pantries
Edinburgh has a network of locally based foodbanks to support a household that needs to access emergency food help. A growing number of pantries or low-cost food outlets are also opening across the city. Some of these run as a pop-up market at schools or community centres.
See our information in response to emergency food support during COVID 19.
Accessing Affordable Food
- Empty Kitchens Full Hearts turns surplus and donated food into nutritious meals delivered to your home or collected from a local community hub, free of charge and without judgement. Meal packs contain lunch, dinner, and snacks, and can be easily reheated on the hob or in the microwave. Empty Kitchens also offers weekly on-site hot food every Friday from 1pm – 2pm at its premises in Granton: 3-11 West Granton Road, Edinburgh EH5 1HG. To get in touch: email@example.com, 07895 347 157 www.emptykitchens.co.uk
- Edinburgh Food Project runs 8 foodbanks across the north west, central and east of Edinburgh. Also supporting information on health and budgeting.
- Edinburgh Community Food provides city-wide home deliveries of fresh fruit, vegetables, and store cupboard items. Contact 0131 467 7326.
- Soul Food Edinburgh is a charity that hosts meals in churches across Edinburgh. The team provide hot, freshly prepared meals while offering some respite and support to anyone dealing with the challenges of homelessness, poverty or loneliness. Details of the different host churches are posted online with food donations provided by local food businesses. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
How can I get access to a food bank?
You will need a referral voucher from a support agency or service, these include the NHS, Council, and charities. The voucher can be redeemed at a local food bank for 3 days’ emergency food.
You can also contact Citizens Advice for advice and referrals. They are operating online and have a telephone helpline between 09:30 and 16:30 Monday to Friday 0131 510 5510.
How you can I help my local food bank?
You can volunteer to work in a foodbank; there are many roles that need filled – food collection, stock control and distribution. Donations are always welcome and collection points are usually located in supermarkets or local convenience stores.
The support of businesses is vital in the operation of foodbanks and there are a few areas to explore including fundraising, skills sharing, running a food drive at your office.
What is the difference between a food bank and a pantry?
A food bank provides emergency food support and is intended to support a household over a crisis period.
A community food pantry is usually set up to offer affordable food to a community and may run on a subscription or membership basis. The aim is to help low-income households benefit from healthy, low-cost food. Cyrenians run pop up food pantries that provide chilled and fresh produce as well as cupboard staples.
Cooking classes and tips
Edinburgh Community Food deliver courses that are open to the public and also ones tailored to the needs of your group. The REHIS, Elementary Food and Health courses provides training in the principles of good nutrition and getting a healthy, balanced diet. The REHIS Elementary Food Hygiene also delivered online is a professionally recognised, certificated course for food handlers working or volunteering in a catering role.
Shared meals and support
Details of groups that provide an opportunity to eat with others in your community and offer skills and tips to help you prepare healthy, tasty meals. If you know of a food group that should be listed here, please get in touch with us.