A new project which will develop the network of food banks across Scotland has received a Big Lottery Fund award of £944,708. The Trussell Trust will use the funding to employ a team of dedicated staff who will provide training, support and guidance to new and existing food banks across the country.
This week the Trussell Trust released new figures confirming that 71,428 Scots relied on food banks to feed themselves over the last year.
One of these people was Jason Walton, 41, from Falkirk. Originally from Kent, Jason moved to Falkirk five years ago and not long after found himself homeless. At his lowest and in need of emergency food he was referred to the food bank by local charity, Headway . One week later he returned, this time to offer his services as a volunteer.
He says: “You never really understand what it means to be down and out until you are there yourself. I had been used to having a good job and money in my pocket so when I became homeless, with nowhere to turn, I realised I had hit an all time low.
“I’ve now overcome that time in my life and am currently staying in temporary housing so I feel now is the right time to give something back. I was so thankful for the support of the food bank and can really empathise with those who rely on their food parcels. Volunteering here keeps me busy and it’s great to know that I am really helping people in the community.”
Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair, Maureen McGinn, said: “Over five years our award to the Trussell Trust will help support around 400,000 people across the country who are struggling with issues such as hunger, poverty and unemployment. By investing in this Scotland wide project, our funding will build a network of support around some of the most vulnerable people through providing access to emergency food relief.”
In its approach the Trussell Trust will identify and target those areas with high levels of deprivation where there is no emergency food provision. It will then provide the necessary support and training to local groups to help them set up a foodbank in their area.
Ewan Gurr, Scotland Development Officer, The Trussell Trust, added: “The massive rise in demand for emergency food relief highlights the extent to which foodbanks are a lifeline to many Scottish families. This generous contribution to The Trussell Trust will enhance the support in place for the men, women and children using our foodbanks and help develop provision in areas where that support does not currently exist.”
Today’s award comes from the Big Lottery Fund’s Investing in Communities fund which is aimed at projects that support those communities, individuals and families in greatest need.
For more details on the Trussell Trust and their work in Scotland visit their website.