Vulnerable Scots sit down to festive feast of game

Some of Scotland's most vulnerable people will be sitting down to Christmas dinners of venison, pheasant and woodcock this weekend, thanks to a special charity initiative.

Grampian Moorland Group gamekeepers prepare Christmas food parcels for delivery to vulnerable people in Grampian and Angus. Picture: Contributed

Gamekeepers, restaurants and butchers have got together with family support charities in Angus and Grampian to provide high-quality local food for disadvantaged members of the community, including young children with a parent in prison, elderly people living alone and the homeless.

While turkey may be the traditional festive fare, the Game for Giving partnership is donating lean venison and fresh pheasant from the hills and woods in the regions to support vulnerable families.

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Rare delicacies such as woodcock and snipe are also on the menu.

Gamekeepers and stalkers have been sourcing the Christmas feast over the past few days, while award-winning butchers and restaurants are helping put together the Christmas packages, ahead of delivery to charities in Banchory, Brechin and Montrose.

And it’s not just fresh meats and game going into the parcels, there will also be vegetables, crackers and sweets.

The scheme is a collaboration between charities Home-Start Deeside and Just Play, the Christmas Day Community Meal in Montrose scheme and the Angus Glens and Grampian moorland groups.

Home-Start charity in Deeside will distribute the yuletide parcels on Christmas Eve.

Gamekeepers and helpers have already begun packaging casseroles of Angus venison, pheasant, woodcock and snipe, sourced in Glen Esk, to hand out to families of under-fives who are affected by parental imprisonment – part of an initiative supported by Scottish Government.

Food will also be dished out at the Community Meal, held at the YMCA in Montrose on Christmas Day, which provides a cooked dinner for those eating alone at Christmas.

“The moorland group’s generosity is really appreciated,” said Katie Baxter, a volunteer at the Montrose initiative.

“In fact we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of everyone in the local area.

“Last year we had people from all walks of life at the meal, from elderly people who might have been alone or had family overseas, to homeless people grateful for some good food and company.”