This case study examines empowerment approaches for people living in food poverty in the City of Aberdeen in the North East (NE) of Scotland.

Food poverty in Scotland is a public health problem that disproportionately affects poor people. Its extent is not well measured, but in Scotland 18% of the population are estimated to live in relative income poverty.

Three main groups are at risk: people who are ‘working poor’, people who are unemployed and dependent on state welfare, and people who are homeless.

These groups overlap and people move between them. Neither local authorities nor health authorities directly provide or fund services related to food poverty. They collaborate with the voluntary sector to do so. Health authorities provide evidence on reducing health inequalities, and local authorities support services delivered by the voluntary sector.

This case study is part of a wider international programme co-ordinated by Training and Research Support Centre entitled ‘Learning from international experience on approaches to community power, participation and decision-making in health’.

The study includes five sites in the USA and case studies from twelve sites in selected high-, middle- and low-income countries, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Global Ideas Fund at CAF America. As one of the six deep scan case studies in the project, we describe promising practices in, and models of, community participation, power and decision-making in the local health system.

With a focus on food poverty in deprived and marginalised communities, we reviewed approaches and practices for building social power and involving communities in efforts to address population health in relation to food poverty, within and between communities,  government agencies, nongovernmental and community initiatives in the site.