Mac N’ Cheese Mondays Initiative To Help Tackle Loneliness & Food Poverty in Dumfries & Galloway

Galloway Cheddar’s pilot scheme creates delicious Mac N’ Cheese moments that bring more than 167 local residents together in a celebration of friendship, local heritage and of course good food.

DGWGO went along to Summerhill Community Centre in Dumfries to find out more …

Two charities from Dumfries and Galloway have been chosen to pilot a new initiative which aims to tackle social isolation, loneliness and food poverty for vulnerable individuals and families in Scottish communities.

Launched yesterday (7 th November) Galloway Cheddar’s Mac N’ Cheese Mondays event supports people in communities to gather once a month, on a Monday, to make new friends over a delicious meal. It is hoped that the initiative will not only raise much needed money for the causes but also awareness of how these issues affect the community.

The Scottish cheddar brand partnered with two local community charities in Dumfries and Galloway to launch the pilot; Fed Up, a community café in Stranraer which works to combat social isolation through giving people life skills and training opportunities, and Summerhill Community Centre, a learning and development charity which provides education, sports and leisure, social and environmental activities in Dumfries.

Heloise Le-Norcy Trott, Group Marketing Director at Lactalis McLelland UK & Ireland said: “It is wonderful to see how the Mac N’ Cheese Monday initiative is bringing our Galloway Cheddar value of togetherness alive. Local charities Fed Up and Summerhill Community Centre have been great partners in making it possible for residents to come together and make new friends around a delicious and comforting meal. We are looking at ways to strengthen our positive impact within our Scottish communities.”

Fed Up held a teatime event which saw 50 families and individuals gather together for a few hours to enjoy a mac n’ cheese meal. Summerhill Community Centre supported 117 members of its local community through its teatime mac n’ cheese for the Young at Heart Club for those aged 50 and over, and then three additional evening mac n’ cheese meals for the youth groups aged 5-18 years old.

Each partner was given ingredient packs to help supply the meals which included Galloway Cheddar’s red cheddar, as well as materials to decorate the venues to ensure a warm and friendly setting. The events also raised £1,335 which will go towards the community groups’ work tackling social isolation, loneliness and food poverty in their local communities.

Annemarie Coulter, youth and volunteer community development co-ordinator from Summerhill Community Centre said: “This is such a fantastic idea from Galloway Cheddar to support our communities. Creating opportunities for social gatherings and bringing people of all ages together to chat, enjoy a hot homemade meal and socialise in a relaxed and friendly environment can really help to

overcome loneliness and improve people’s health and wellbeing.”

Andy Lund project co-ordinator, from Fed Up said: “We have seen first-hand how the current cost of living crisis and rising food prices is having a massive effect on the people we support locally. Stranraer and the Rhins is in the 20% of the most deprived areas within Scotland and 23% of its children are considered to suffer from food poverty, which is increasing each year 1 . Every child and adult deserve to have a hot meal and be given a chance in life to make something of themselves and this is where we support them. We have loved being part of the pilot scheme and are thankful to Galloway Cheddar for choosing us to benefit from such a simple but effective idea.”

Margaret Snoxhill, 71, from Dumfries said:“When I moved up to Scotland from Surrey I didn’t really know anyone except for friends and family. The move left me out of sorts so I decided to go see a doctor who diagnosed me with depression, even though I didn’t really feel depressed at the time, and recommend me to try some new activities, one suggestion was to do some exercise to get my endorphins flowing. I signed up to the exercise group at the Summerhill Community Centre and really enjoyed myself so continued to come on a regular basis and since then I have also been helping other people where I can – especially with the cooking which is something I love to do.

“I’ve been coming here for five years now, and I really enjoy taking part in all the different activities and making new friends and feeling part of the community. It is a very special place.”

Galloway was formed in 1959 and is the no.1 Scottish Cheddar brand. The company works with 118 farms located within 75 miles of its Stranraer factory to produce the cheese which is made using 100% Scottish milk. It also holds the Red Tractor endorsement which means its cheddar is produced to high standard and is assured at every step of the production process from farm to pack.

Galloway Cheddar also supported this year’s Stranraer Fireworks display by hosting a mac n’ cheese stall which provided free meals in exchange for a donation for FedUp.