BARRAS AND BITES – putting affordable food on the map across Forth Valley

Three thousand guides highlighting where people can find good quality affordable food have been distributed across Forth Valley.

The project is part of a joint partnership between NHS Forth Valley, Clackmannanshire Healthy Lives and Keep Well, and the leaflet guide contains a map of where to find  the 13 local community cafes and  8 fruit and vegetable barras. Not only do the venues provide a nutritional benefit, but they also encourage social inclusion and help avoid loneliness.

Debbie Ross, Community Food Development Worker with Clackmannanshire Healthier Lives explained: “Some of these cafes and fruit barras are tucked away within a multi-purpose building, and are not so easy for people to find. We thought that by supporting the idea of a map it would act as a signpost to what is available locally.

“All the fruit and vegetable barras sell fresh good quality produce on a not-for-profit basis, and the community cafes offer a wide range of snacks and meals, again not for profit. The majority are run by volunteers who are trained in food hygiene and are designed to engender a community spirit.”

There are two community cafes in Stirling, seven in Falkirk and four in Clackmannanshire.  Five fruit barras are available in Stirling, one in Falkirk and two in Clackmannanshire. The new guide also contains a map which details what services are available at each venue, for example free Wi-Fi, wheelchair access and parking facilities.

Meal deals at some cafes include soup, sandwich and a drink for £2.95 and pensioner meals for one pound. Debbie Ross says this allows people to have at least one good hot meal a day and to meet other people they can have a chat with.

Many of the fruit and vegetable barras accept Healthy Start vouchers which help encourage families with children under four and pregnant women to eat more fruit and vegetables. The cafes and barras also have information about where people can access other support services. For more information visit the nutrition pages on the health promotion section of the NHS Forth Valley website