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Charity providing vital support to older people in Dumfries and Galloway secures £100k funding boost

19/02/2024

“SOMETIMES THEY’RE THE ONLY PEOPLE I SEE IN A WEEK” CHARITY PROVIDING VITAL SUPPORT TO OLDER PEOPLE IN DUMFRIES AND GALLOWAY SECURES £100K FUNDING BOOST

  • Charity making essential food deliveries to elderly customers awarded £100,000 grant from SP Energy Networks’ Net Zero Fund to electrify transport fleet
  • Food Train’s new electric vehicles will make eco-friendly deliveries to 100 vulnerable people in the local community every week
  • Fund reopens to support charities and community groups with their low carbon net zero plans

A vital charity helping elderly people across Dumfries and Galloway has been awarded £100,000 from SP Energy Networks’ Net Zero Fund to electrify its fleet of delivery vehicles.

Food Train’s Stewartry branch offers a range of essential services to help those who are no longer able to manage independently, with volunteer drivers making nearly hundred grocery deliveries every week to older members of the local community.

The funding will allow Food Train to upgrade its existing delivery vans to new electric models, along with installing an onsite charging point at its Castle Douglas base to ensure the team always has access to reliable green transport.

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In addition to significantly reducing the charity’s carbon footprint, the sustainable upgrades will also result in a long-term financial saving which will be reinvested back into operational costs to ensure people who need support are always able to access Food Train’s valuable services.

The charity is one of the recipients of SP Energy Networks’ Net Zero Fund – a £5million funding pot designed to support vulnerable communities across Central and Southern Scotland and ensure no one is left behind on the country’s journey to net zero emissions.

Rosemary McCubbin has been a Food Train customer since 2017. Speaking on what the charity means to her, she said: “Food Train is absolutely brilliant. I found out about the service through caring for my husband before he passed away and now, living on my own, they can sometimes be the only people that I see in a week.

“The process of using the service is so simple, I’ll fill out the sheet of items that I need at the start of the week and by the end of the week, I’ve had all my shopping delivered. They will even give me a hand, if I need it, to put things away in the kitchen to save me doing it all myself. They also tend to bring a good laugh and a chat with them too, which always brightens up my day.

“It’s hard to imagine life without Food Train now as they are such a massive help to me when it comes to my day-to-day. If it wasn’t for them, I would have to venture out on my own, which is something that I struggle with a lot.

“I know that the funding from SP Energy Networks will make a huge difference to the team and allow them to continue supporting people like me who have come to rely on their services.”

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Food Train operates thanks to teams of dedicated local volunteers who go the extra mile by also helping with household jobs, delivering books via the charity’s library service and providing much needed friendly social contact and meals through its Meal Makers and befriending services. The charity’s delivery services in Dumfries and Galloway help to reduce the workload of over 50 carers supporting people in local community.

Scott Mathieson, Network Planning and Regulation Director at SP Energy Networks, said: “We are a long-term champion of Food Train and the vital support it provides, having previously supported the charity through our Green Economy Fund.

“From speaking to those who use the service, it’s immediately clear to see the difference it makes in people’s lives, and we’re delighted to play a part in making that happen. These new electric vehicles will allow the team to continue to get out on the road every day without having to worry about the environmental impact.

“Our next funding round is now open, and we’re welcoming applications from eligible charities and community groups looking to accelerate their net zero plans.”

Finlay Carson, MSP for Galloway and West Dumfries, said:  "I am absolutely delighted that Foodtrain has been awarded funding for electric vehicles. They are an organisation who have their roots in the Stewartry, and I have been delighted to support them since their first inception.

“Not only do they provide a vital lifeline service, they also bring happiness to so many and reduce loneliness in rural areas. These electric vehicles will go a long way to ensure sustainability both financially and environmentally.”

Projects like this one will play a critical role in accelerating decarbonisation to enable local net zero ambitions, with the sustainable upgrades aligning to Dumfries and Galloway’s wider climate ambitions and the council’s plan to achieve net zero by 2025. Significant progress has already been made, with emissions down for the fifth consecutive year and the area’s carbon footprint less than half of what it was just four years ago.

A host of charities and organisations supporting communities across Scotland have been awarded funding from SP Energy Networks’ Net Zero Fund to introduce innovative net zero technology. The groups will receive grants to help them decarbonise and reach their net zero targets sooner, with projects ranging from installation of solar panels and heat pumps to the purchase of electric vehicles and retrofitting listed buildings to increase energy efficiency.

The next round of the Net Zero Fund is now open and is welcoming applications from eligible charities and community organisations. Alongside financial support, the fund also offers guidance and support through workshops tailored to community organisations and charities looking to take the next step on their decarbonisation journey.

The Net Zero Fund has been established through SP Transmission, a subsidiary of SP Energy Networks, responsible for transmitting high-voltage electricity from power stations and windfarms to the low-voltage network across Central and Southern Scotland.  

More information about the Net Zero Fund and eligibility criteria is available at: www.spenergynetworks.co.uk/netzerofund

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