Food Train Renfrewshire seek volunteers

Food Train is a vital grocery shopping and delivery service for the elderly, who through age related ill health, frailty or disability, are unable to manage their grocery shopping. This vital service is led by volunteers, who assist in collecting shopping orders, making up the orders and delivering them to customers in the Food Train van. As such we aim to provide a range of supported volunteering opportunities for people of all ages and abilities.

Food Train is a multi award winning Scottish Charity with bases across Scotland, and we’ve just launched the new branch in Renfrewshire. If you are interested in volunteering, or know of anyone who would benefit from the service, please contact Regional Manager Marri Welsh on 0141 887 2557 or email


Food Train is a grocery shopping and delivery service for the over 65 population of Renfrewshire, funded by the Renfrewshire Change Fund Partnership.

The service developed from the findings of a community survey of older people in Dumfries, which identified that help with the weekly grocery shopping was a priority for the majority of local older people. A small group of older people formed a partnership of local shops and volunteers and the Food Train launched their service in 1995. From launch to 2013, the service has expanded successfully. The vision of the Food Train’s elderly founders was to enable older people to remain independently at home by ensuring they got supplies of fresh groceries delivered weekly while also bringing welcome social contact and friendship. Food Train has always generated income from services charges without disadvantaging the poorest older people.

Food Train is now a thriving, multi award winning charity with bases across Dumfries & Galloway, West Lothian, Stirling, Dundee and Glasgow.

Our aim is to help older people who, through age related ill health, frailty or disability, are unable to manage their grocery shopping, by providing a shopping delivery service. We also aim to provide a range of supported volunteering opportunities for people of all ages and abilities.


How the service works

  • The volunteers visit the customer at home to collect shopping lists on a Monday
  • Shopping is carried out either a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday and the order is packed into a box.
  • The shopping is then delivered to the customer’s home, where it is unpacked and checked off with the customer.  Volunteers will help to put shopping away (in fridges, freezers, cupboards etc.) if necessary.
  • On receipt of the shopping the customer pays for the cost of the shopping plus a small delivery charge of £3.00.
  • Shopping can be paid for by cash or cheque.
  • Customers can use Food Train on a weekly, fortnightly or 4 weekly basis (or less if that is preferred).


For many Food Train customers the two visits per week from our volunteers can be the only social contact they have all week.  This contact not only helps to improve their mental health and wellbeing, but can be a means of monitoring the most vulnerable older people in our society and signposting on to other services.  Our volunteers are offered on going support and training in a range of areas and are able to identify any changes in an older person’s health or behaviour and raise this with Food Train staff who can take appropriate action.

It is not only Food Train customers that benefit from the increased social contact the service provides.  Many volunteers enjoy the social interaction and physical exercise that comes with the role; helping to keep them fit, active and mentally well.  Food Train volunteers are all subject to a Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme record check.

Food Train Renfrewshire is working closely with other agencies eg Senior Forums, Lunch Clubs, Day Centres, and other local providers to ensure community ownership of Food Train while providing an excellent cross referral system to the benefit of our members.

Food Train services were designed by older people for older people who face difficulties through age related ill health, frailty or disability. Food Train is provided on the basis of minimum criteria and service users do not undergo means or health assessment. We support and enable older people to live at home in the security and comfort of their own community for as long as they are able through the provision of a grocery delivery service.

If someone does need the service, referrals are very simple and can be made by contacting Marri Welsh, Regional Manager on 0141 887 2557.  Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer should ring the same number and speak to Marri for further information.