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A box containing a variety of fruit and vegetables including bananas, apples and a cabbage
A box containing a variety of fruit and vegetables including bananas, apples and a cabbage

Improving access to fresh fruit and veg

The Glasgow Rose Vouchers Project, the vision of the Alexandra Rose Charity and funded by the Volant Charitable Trust, provides access to fresh fruit and vegetables.

The Alexandra Rose Charity (ARC) vision is for everyone to have access to fresh fruit and vegetables within their communities. Since 2014 ARC has administered the Rose Vouchers, a fruit and vegetable voucher scheme to help parents with young children on low incomes, including expectant mothers, to buy fresh fruit and vegetables while encouraging healthy eating to give their families the healthiest start. In October 2021, ARC celebrated it's one millionth Rose Voucher spent. 

Glasgow City Council and key strategic partners, including Glasgow Community Planning Partnership, Glasgow Food Policy Partnership, and Calton Child Poverty Network, invited ARC in 2019 to bring the scheme to Scotland. The Glasgow Rose Vouchers Project launched in September 2020 after securing funding, including a three-year grant from the Volant Charitable Trust (2020-2023), to pilot Rose Vouchers in Scotland, specifically in the Calton ward area of Glasgow initially.  

Glasgow is the most affected local authority in Scotland since the welfare reform in 2010 and experiences lower socio-economic status associated with higher levels of obesity, especially for women and children living in the most deprived areas of Scotland. Dalmarnock in the Calton ward is Scotland's most deprived food desert, where unhealthy processed food is significantly cheaper and abundant. Fresh fruit and vegetables are unavailable, expensive, or poor quality (Social Market Foundation).  

The project met the target to support 60 families in year one within the first six months. By April 2021, 69 families were being supported each week, increasing to 88 families by October 2021. Since the project's launch to the end of February 2022, 124 families in Glasgow have been supported.  

Between September 2021 and February 2022, 108 families (including 211 children under the age of 5) were supported through receiving and redeeming Rose Vouchers, along with the 'wrap around support' provided by local partners in Calton Ward, including Refuweegee, Church House and Thriving Places, and more recently in Drumchapel with partners in the new "Thrive Under 5" initiative. 

There are also secondary benefits to having the Rose vouchers scheme in low-income communities as markets and independent traders will get trade from people who might not otherwise use them, which boosts the economic vibrancy of healthy food economies. This has already led to discussions in Glasgow about introducing markets to new areas or providing mobile greengrocers to food desert areas, like Dalmarnock, where potentially the whole community can benefit from affordable fresh food. To date, £39,288 worth of vouchers has been spent by families with local retailer Firm Banana, either at their local street market in Bridgeton or via veg box delivery.  

“Families are keen to get fresh fruit and veg, and the Rose Vouchers are really making a difference and helping us do that. Most of the families we support come from other countries and are often living on a very tight budget. With the vouchers, they can choose their own fruit and veg and make homecooked meals they like, rather than have their meals decided for them. 


Since we joined the Rose Vouchers a few months ago, we have included them in the packs we deliver to families living near Bridgeton Market. We currently support eight families with Rose Vouchers in the area.  


We’re so pleased to be part of the Rose Vouchers project. It’s the most vulnerable people in society the vouchers are supporting. For families to be able to give their children fresh fruit and veg is just so important.” 


Hannah Gibbons, Operations Manager at Refuweegee, an organisation ARC has partnered with to distribute Rose Vouchers, who provide a warm welcome to forcibly displaced people arriving in Glasgow.