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Edinburgh Food Social recently supported local S6 school pupils to provide a community Burns Supper as part of the Mark Scott Leadership award. Caitlin, one of the young people organising the project tells us more about what they achieved.

The Mark Scott leadership award is an award where we – seven S6 pupils from two different schools in Edinburgh – were challenged to deliver a community project to help those struggling in our community. We decided that our goal would be to help those in need of food, due to the cost of living crisis. We know that these issues are prominent in our community and everyone deserves good food to live off. It was up to us to come up with an idea and how we would deliver this.
This is when we got in contact with Kirsty from Edinburgh Food Social. She had worked with Castlebrae School before so we were already familiar with her and what EFS does. The first meeting we had with her was great. She was amazing in listening to all of our ideas and expanding on them. Ultimately, we decided that we would put on a Burns Supper for those in our community. This gave us a theme to focus around and added an extra appeal for those attending.
We knew that this wouldn’t be easy. For the next two months, we kept in regular contact with Kirsty and planned our whole event. This was one of the hardest parts as there were so many little things to consider such as, the menu, venue, date/time, how we would get the food, whether we wanted decorations and music and so much more. We split ourselves into 3 smaller groups each working on different things. One group started fundraising for the food and a venue, the other worked on the menu and started to make leaflets and flyers and the other group were in charge of trying to get a venue, date and time.
A few weeks before the event, Kirsty let us know that there would be Heritage Portfolio chefs, Johnny and Fraser, there to help us on the two days before the event to help us cook. This helped us out massively and I don’t know if we could have done it without them. Their experience made it so much easier for us to pick up skills quickly. This allowed us to do more in the kitchen and to not rely on them to do everything for us.
When it came to the preparation days we were shocked to find out how much we would actually be cooking. Over the two days in the kitchen, we learned so much including knife skills, timings of food, food hygiene and how a kitchen runs. We decided that we didn’t want to do a normal Burns dinner so we changed it up a bit. We ended up making lentil soup, cullen skink soup, a haggis wellington with celeriac mash, and a lemon rice pudding cake. We had contacted local shops, explaining what we were doing, to try and get some of the ingredients to bring down our costs. We were kindly donated some irn bru and were also donated some lovely tablet by someone in the local community. We ended up using the money that we had fundraised to buy the rest of our ingredients. We had a great time, not only cooking the food but also meeting new people and having fun whilst doing it.
The day of the actual event went better than we could’ve ever expected. It took place in the Venchie, which is the centre of our community. We split ourselves into two groups: one to serve the food and one to cook and plate the meal. It was a great atmosphere, we had poetry, music and decorations all round. Everyone there had a great time, getting involved with reading poems, talking and laughing to one another and seemed to love the food, with lots going up for seconds. It was an amazing day for all involved!
Looking back at our project as a whole we are so glad that we did it! Not only did we learn so many new skills, met so many amazing people, most importantly helped some of those most vulnerable in our community which is what it is all about. Food poverty is an important matter now more than ever! With the rise in the cost of living it is getting harder and harder for families to afford even one proper hot meal a day. Which is why we urge you to do anything you can to help, no matter how small.
We would like to thank Edinburgh Food Social and everyone else that helped us host such an amazing event. We learned so much and really couldn’t have done it without all of you. We really do appreciate it!