An Edinburgh community champion has been nominated for a Local Hero award at the Scottish Parliament. Caroline Brown also known as ‘Tiggy’ was put forward for the honour by Sue Webber MSP for her work to support families in need during the pandemic.
Caroline has always been active in the community of Currie, in multiple projects and initiatives. A project manager and mother to 2 boys she volunteers her time on projects that are linked to local schools or the environment. She was a significant contributor to ‘Save our Schools’ in 2017, is an integral part of a local environmental community group ‘The Village Green’ which champions green issues, supports local recycling and successfully fought to get the council to introduce a new bus service.
During the pandemic many families in this area of Edinburgh were struggling financially and unable to afford food or travel to foodbanks. Caroline started ‘Community for Food’ to combat these issues, initially supporting 3 families in April 2020 and this number grew steadily to reach 49 families at the height of and during the pandemic.
All families are referred through 5 local schools to ‘Community for Food’ which have supplied nearly 1400 deliveries in the past 11 months to families combating food poverty, holiday hunger, period poverty and hygiene poverty.
This project has grown to become a fully formed, formally constituted community initiative with a very hard-working committee. A fantastic army of volunteers of all ages come from across the community. The support from local businesses and community groups has been heart-warming and much needed. Caroline and the entire team have worked tirelessly on fundraising, doing outreach via the schools to identify families, coordinating donations, handling family specific food requests and intolerances and creating and managing a growing delivery network.
Community for Food is also an active project for young people who are taking part in their Duke of Edinburgh Award.
Commenting, Sue Webber MSP said: “Tiggy is a force to be reckoned with across Currie, Juniper Green and Balerno. I think if there was ever an example of someone who steps up to the plate when needed, no matter what, and someone who will come up with a creative innovative solution, it is Caroline Brown. She has an energy and enthusiasm that you cannot ignore, so you just have to get involved and get stuck in too!”
Caroline Brown said: “No community project is successful due to one person alone. It is the hardworking, enthusiastic volunteers who drive projects forward and this is what makes a huge difference and motivates us all to strive and continue in our collective community goals. We have an amazing community of unrecognised heroes and I want to acknowledge all of them. I want to single out Moira Peterson, founder of ‘The Village Green’, who is making great strides to reduce plastic waste and putting the planet front of mind for many of us locally.
“As regards ‘Community for Food’ none of what we have achieved would have been possible without the hard-working volunteers who give their time week in week out. They all deserve an award. Special mention goes to Val Reid who herself is a community champion giving her time to many projects including ‘Community for Food’. Without Val, ‘Community for Food’ would not have gained the momentum we have achieved to date.
“‘You have no idea how much you have helped me’ is a quote from one of the mothers we support. We may have no idea, but we do know that we have removed the worry from children in our schools of where their next meal is coming from. This is what makes it all worthwhile.”