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Food Train steams into its 25th anniversary

The service in 1995

IT STARTED out with a rusty old van and just five customer on 29 June 1995... Today, Food Train helps thousands of older people to eat well and live well and has picked up a total of £14.2 million worth of groceries for customers The charity is closing in on its 255,000th delivery in Dumfries and Galloway - 25 years after first hitting the road. Food Train made its first deliveries in Dumfries, laying the foundations of a service which has become a lifeline for thousands of people aged over 65, allowing them to eat well, enjoy more social contact and live at home for longer. After expanding from Dumfries to Stranraer and Rhins in 2002 and Newton Stewart and Machars in 2003 as it embarked on a rollout across the region, the charity now also operates across eight other regions of Scotland. Since those first deliveries it has gone on to make almost 255,000 others in Dumfries and Galloway - with a total of 455,000 deliveries made throughout all of the regions in which it operates. John Gibb, 64, of Stranraer, has been a volunteer with Food Train for 14 years. He has carried out all manner of work to support the team in the town and currently helps with taking shopping lists and organising deliveries. He said: “The work really does make a difference. It's become more and more important over the years. I enjoy being part of it - meeting people and helping them. Every day is different.” The need for Food Train's shopping service - volunteers take members' individual shoppings lists and collect their items before delivering them to their homes and, in normal circumstances, storing items away if needed - has never been greater, with unprecedented demand during the Coronavirus crisis. At the peak of the pandemic, calls for support spiked at 127 per cent of regular levels in Dumfries and Galloway as older people were ordered to shield in their homes. Staff and volunteers are currently making shopping deliveries to 1,000 people across the region, compared to 650 before the outbreak. Food Train Chief Executive Michelle Carruthers said: “If older people aren't eating well, they're not living well. If they're not living well, then their health deteriorates. It's that simple. By getting groceries to them, we help them to eat better, live better and improve the general health of the areas in which we operate. “The certainty of knowing someone you trust is going to bring your food every week has a positive impact on people's lives. But Food Train is about more than just shopping, it's about social contact. We're here to talk to those we support, to make sure they are cared for and help in any way that we can. The simple things we do make a big difference. “I'm pleased that Food Train has been here to help. The older people who founded Food Train created a wonderful legacy of kindness and support. Everybody associated with the charity should be very proud of what it has achieved.” Nationally, the charity is currently supporting 3,100 people with grocery deliveries across Scotland - up from to 1,905 prior to the coronavirus pandemic. It is supported by 1,300 volunteers, an increase from about 800 since the beginning of March. Since its first delivery day, Food Train has: Made more than 445,000 home shopping deliveries. Shopped £14.2 million-worth of groceries for customers. Clocked in excess of 1.3 million hours of volunteering time. Completed 12,600 household tasks through the At Home service. Hosted 1,000 befriending outings through Food Train Friends. Shared in the region of 26,000 meals through the Meal Makers scheme. Distributed grants worth £160,000 to tackle the causes of malnutrition among older people through its Eat Well Age Well project. Made 6,200 check-in calls to older people during the Covid-19 lockdown. As well as its shopping service, Food Train operates its At Home service - carrying out small jobs in older people's homes - and its acclaimed befriending project to tackle loneliness as well as Meal Makers and Eat Well Age Well projects to deal with the causes of malnutrition in the over-65s, along with a library service. Earlier this month it launched Food Train Connects, a one-to-one national operation to reach areas that its established shopping service currently does not. To find out about how Food Train could help you or someone you know, email shopping@thefoodtrain.co.uk or call 0800 3047924. To register as a volunteer, go to www.thefoodtrain.co.uk

<< back Published: 29 Jun 2020, 09:23

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