Chris Kerr is the Community Support Manager at FARE, an organisation working to help disadvantaged young people and families across Scotland.
FARE has been operating for 32 years, initially just in Easterhouse, the organisation now works across the city and further afield too. Chris says the organisation has to stay responsive to what communities need. He says, “the symptoms of poverty are varied”. It means that the organisation’s functions are adaptable too. They’ve recently opened a FARE nursery, but they have youth groups, employability groups for adults, and social services for senior citizens and the elderly. Over 30 social workers that work in schools across Scotland for FARE are equipped to connect young people and families to the services they need. In recent times, the pandemic prompted the organisation to organise food parcel deliveries. They partnered with 97 organisations and delivered over 1 million meals.
Right opposite FARE’s premises in Easterhouse is the Lochend Community Allotment. Susan Wilson helps youths from FARE groups and children from the FARE Play Nursery grow their own fruits and vegetables. Nearby schools and nurseries also have their own raised vegetable beds including St. Clare’s Nursery, Lochview Nursery, Oakwood Primary, St. Benedict’s Primary, and Lochend High School. They grow a wide range of vegetables including purple kale, tiger-striped tomatoes, and giant cabbages. They are helped and directed by Susan on Tuesdays, “Right now the kids are getting ready for all the winter vegetables, and they’re harvesting all their summer vegetables”. Susan believes the garden is an educational experience, “A lot of kids don’t realise you don’t just buy your veg from the Supermarket”. The garden gives them the ability to cook with new vegetables and some of the children have started planting pots at home too.
The children are also encouraged to upcycle. They have painted and decorated second-hand materials to act as planters or as features in the garden. The allotment is open to all. Chris says unemployed adults can be struggling to know what to do and that the colourful space has engaged people to get involved.
FARE have recently secured funds to revamp the football pitches at Stepford Sports Park. They’ve secured £1.6 million for an ambitious redevelopment that they believe will bring lots of jobs into the area as well as maintaining and improving a community resource. Chris says, “the profits made from that will go back into the social and co
mmunity arm of the charity”. FARE’s aim is to be as self-sustainable as possible. They are committed to hiring local people from the communities they work in, so that every part of their organisation functions as a social enterprise.
You can find out more about FARE on their website www.fare-scotland.org or call them on 0141 771 9151.