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Logo and tagline for Dunbar, East Lothian, food and basics bank. "Dunbar Foodshare, community love in action"

About Us

How we started – Community Love In Action


Dunbar FoodShare serves the local community, and is run entirely by volunteers. We are a community outreach initiative from Dunbar Parish Church, working with clients and volunteers across the whole community. We were first established in 2014 as part of Edinburgh City Mission’s Basic Bank Network – you might have known us by our original name of Dunbar Basics Bank. In 2019 we became an independent foodbank, and we are now relaunching our project with the new name of Dunbar FoodShare. We are still run by some of the core group of people who first started the initiative back in 2014 with the addition of three new members when Covid struck in 2020.


What we do


We aim to offer our clients dignity of choice, so we are now gradually moving away from the limiting concept of offering pre-packed bags of food to clients. We help our clients to access food and essential toiletries; this can be done through providing them with store cards and high street vouchers as well as still offering clients the opportunity to visit our stocked cabinets of food, toiletries, and cleaning products to choose what they need.


We also run a social café, providing a safe space of support and community, as well as offering food, drinks and snacks every Wednesday lunchtime. Clients then have the opportunity to shop from our mobile cabinets if they choose.


The impact of COVID


Like everyone else our world changed as we faced the challenge of COVID. Therefore in March 2020 we sadly had to close to client visits and shut the social cafe. This challenge also brought opportunity to redefine what we focused on and reconsider the way we operated. 


We were able to adapt quickly and addressed the challenge of the necessity of new ways of working at a time of global crisis. We focused on the dignity of choice we could offer clients, and worked hard to continue to provide the essential support people need during difficult times. 


We looked at what really mattered to people who suddenly found themselves asking for help for the first time, and those whose lives were shaped by challenges, often beyond their own control, who needed help from the community more often. We know that when you need to ask for help you often feel robbed of dignity and are prevented from making choices that others take for granted, like what to eat, how to sustain a healthy diet, and simply being able to choose what your family needs to maintain positive mental health in times of crisis. Returning both dignity and choice is vital.


As a result, from mid-2020 we focused on ensuring that our service did not take away any more dignity or choice from the people who needed our help. We stopped issuing bags of food that our packers had pre-prepared. Instead we issued shopping lists, and where possible gave clients food that not only gave basic sustenance, it gave them choice, supported good mental health and restored a little dignity and self-respect. We also provided clients with vouchers to buy food from their community high street, at the butchers, community bakery and Community Carrot.


The future for Dunbar FoodShare


2022 brings new challenges and opportunities for us. Having left the Basics Bank network, we have been looking afresh at our identity and purpose. We knew that the word foodbank has negative connotations, so conducted extensive market research to find a better alternative for us. FoodShare became the obvious community choice, representing our community’s wonderful support as it shares with people in need. The strap-line ‘Community Love in Action’ also reflects the generous support our community offers, and demonstrates how highly we value their wonderful support. We are excited about finding new ways of connecting with the people who may need our help. Our new website, an improved Facebook page, a new Instagram account, newsletter and greater community interaction are all planned. Watch this space to see how it all unfolds!


How you can help


Our ultimate aim is the ideal of foodbanks becoming redundant, but there is a long way to go before that goal can be attained. In the meantime, you can help by making financial donations (click on the Donate tab to find out how) as well as by continuing to put food in donations bins around town. You can also help by volunteering (click on the Volunteer tab for more details). You may also know someone who might need our help. Contact us to find out more, or direct them straight to the Self Referrals page under our Referrals tab.

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