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Paisley volunteer Richard Dunne

Local man praises charity’s work as it seeks new volunteers in region to bolster numbers as some supporters return to work having backed cause while on furlough

Food Train is seeking more volunteers to support its life-improving work to collect and deliver critical shopping supplies to older people in Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire.

Paisley volunteer Richard Dunne

The charity, whose mission it is to provide practical, social and emotional support to help older people to eat well, age well and live well at home, was grateful for a surge in support from volunteers as it responded to record-breaking demand at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

But, as many of the volunteers who signed up at that time return to their regular jobs as the UK Government’s furlough scheme draws to a close, they are finding themselves with less time to support the cause’s work.

And that comes as Food Train continues to meet massive demand, with the number of customers receiving weekly deliveries in Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire 72% higher than this time last year. The charity is currently supporting 279 people in the regions, which are covered by a Paisley-based branch.

Stephen McGinty, Food Train Regional Manager for Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire, said: “The support we have had from our volunteers throughout the pandemic – and the response we have from people who could see the extra help we needed to meet the unprecedented demand we have seen – has been fantastic.

“But, as many people who took the opportunity to help us while on furlough leave return to work as demand for our services remains high, we find ourselves in need of more people to both help with shopping for our customers’ orders and in delivering them.

“That’s why we’re encouraging anyone who can spare a few hours a week to get in-touch. It’s enjoyable, rewarding work and we have a great team spirit. The knowledge that your shopping is being taken care of and that someone will deliver it to you makes a real positive difference to the lives of older people across Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire.”

Nationally, Food Train’s shopping service is currently supporting 3,118 customers every week, up from 1,905 at the beginning of the pandemic. The numbers have surged because of older people shielding or taking greater steps to protect themselves from Covid-19.

Donald Campbell, of Newton Mearns, is among those supported by the charity. 

He said: “I’m continuing to use the service because it’s a very good charity that is providing me with food.

“Mentally and physically, I am struggling more everyday and, as where other people give me advice, Food Train provides me with practical support that contributes to me living a better life.”

To find out more about volunteering with Food Train, call 0141 887 2557 or go to www.thefoodtrain.co.uk/volunteer.