Scottish Moorland Groups deliver more than 1000 meals to those in need

Scotland’s moorland groups joined forces in a remarkable effort to bring delicious hot dinners to those in need at Christmas.

Wednesday, 29th December 2021, 6:58 am
Updated Wednesday, 29th December 2021, 6:59 am
Dite Duncan (left) receives a food donation from Hedge Shand.

First established in 2016, this year’s Game for Giving initiative was bigger than ever, with 1,000 meals using Scottish game being delivered to homeless and vulnerable people throughout Angus, Grampian, Strathdearn & Speyside.

In the New Year, the initiative will continue and the total number of charitable food deliveries through the scheme will be over 3,000 by the end of February.

In last week’s Piper we covered the story of how 200 residents from the Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside Ward who lost freezer food during the lengthy power cuts due to Storm Arwen, were helped via donations of venison and other game by three Upper Deeside estates.

Joe McGowan and Jim McKerracher, gamekeepers working on the Game for Giving initiative

Head keeper at Finzean Estate, Hedge Shand, alongside his wife Mel, is playing a part in the Game for Giving 2021 programme.

He said: “We are delighted to be part of this initiative which helps to turn our surplus game into healthy delicious dinners.

"It was wonderful to visit some of our more senior community members who were both grateful and enthusiastic to see a friendly face as well as receive a tasty game dinner.”

Before the start of the pandemic, lunches were cooked for community support groups and care homes, in conjunction with additional donations from Tesco.

Casseroles and pies were ready for delivery before Christmas, with invaluable assistance from butcher HM Sheridan of Ballater, the Panmure Arms in Edzell and the Loch Ericht Hotel. In Deeside, recipients included the Ballater Hardship Group, Silver Circle as well as those in need in Banchory.

Councillor Geva Blackett said: "For many, just knowing people care is a huge relief and the local gamekeepers have shown that they are very much part of the caring community and I thank them for their help from the bottom of my heart."

Lianne MacLennan, national noordinator for Scotland’s Regional Moorland Groups, said: “The past 18 months have been very difficult and Storm Arwen was devastating, but there is a fantastic community spirit and we will pull through together.”