Through our Support and Connect funding 64 Scottish projects are set to share £9.2 million, bringing our commitment to projects helping those facing hardship to over £19 million in nine months. This week in the run up to Christmas we are looking at the stories of those people behind the statistics – from the volunteers giving their time to those being helped. Today we talking to Alf Collington at Falkirk Food Bank.
On December 18th Falkirk Food Bank marks its first anniversary and it’s a milestone the volunteers running the service almost wish they would never have needed to reach.
Over the last year they have delivered food parcels to over 3,500 homes and now thanks to our Support and Connect funding the group have been awarded £73,209 to develop their service across the Falkirk area and ensure those who face hardship have food in their homes.
Project manager Alf Collington was one of the volunteers who brought people together to start up the project a year ago and he welcomes this new funding boost. Alf says,
“This means we mark the first anniversary of our much needed service with a real boost. We established the Falkirk Food Bank a week before Christmas last year and I could never have imagined how much demand there would be for food parcels on our doorstep. We deliver to people in dire, dire circumstances, who don’t have anything and without our food parcels would have nothing to eat.
“It’s hard to believe that in this day and age we have people living in Scotland who cannot afford to feed themselves. So many people have nothing.
“In just 12 months we have gone from zero to delivering 300 food parcels a month and now thanks to this grant from the Big Lottery Fund we will be able to build our capacity to meet the growing need.”
Alf and his team of volunteers work throughout the week and will use their new funding to buy a van for the service so they can make sure they reach all those who need their help.
For Alf, 66, setting up the food bank last December was something he felt compelled to do in his retirement. He says,
“I’ve worked hard all my life and I’m fortunate, I’m comfortable and don’t have these worries. We are now delivering to 3,500 people across our area and I couldn’t have ever realised this would be the scale of our job.
“I’ve turned up on people’s doorsteps and they have been so hungry they haven’t been able to stop and say hello they have just ripped into the parcel to find something to eat. It’s then you realise they must have been surviving on water and fresh air for the last couple of days.”
Falkirk Food Bank is one of 64 projects across Scotland sharing £9.2 million today. Through our Support and Connect programme the Big Lottery Fund has pledged over £19 million since March 2013 to people and communities dealing with hardship.
Here’s a full list of all today’s grants Support and Connect Grants for Web
For more information on all our funding programmes go to www.biglotteryfund.org.uk