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Volunteers across central and southern Scotland support older people in lockdown with lifeline grocery deliveries

16/04/2020

Hundreds of extra volunteers from the charity Food Train have been able to step up their services to deliver vital weekly food and grocery supplies to frail, disabled and vulnerable older people in self-isolation during the coronavirus outbreak.

Thanks to funding of more than £450,000 from the SP Energy Networks’ Green Economy Fund for nine new state-of-the-art electric vehicles, the charity has been able to expand its vital services to new regions across Scotland at a time when it’s particularly difficult for older vulnerable people to access shopping services.

Food Train currently serves nine regions across Scotland including Dumfries & Galloway, West Lothian, Stirling, Dundee, Glasgow, Renfrewshire and the Scottish Borders. With the new green additions to their fleet, Food Train has introduced services in East Renfrewshire and Clackmannanshire. Supporting these communities is essential and, with the help of the Green Economy Fund, they can now do so sustainably.

In response to the Covid-19 outbreak and the increased number of older people requiring support with shopping Food Train is now extending its support to other local authority areas via its Food Train Connects service. The new service, which matches older people requiring a helping hand with a volunteer living nearby and willing to provide that regular support, is now available and requires the support of even more volunteers.  Further information on Food Train services and how to sign up as a volunteer is available at www.thefoodtrain.co.uk and by emailing shopping@thefoodtrain.co.uk.

Ian Arthur, a volunteer at Food Train, said: “Food Train has given me a real insight into the challenges that some of our vulnerable and elderly citizens face. Volunteering has given me a sense of self-worth and during these times it has never been more important to support those that can’t support themselves.”

With older people across Scotland going into lockdown for many weeks, the charity has an unprecedented number of elderly people asking for help or being referred for food deliveries. The Scottish Government has now defined its volunteers as key workers providing an essential service, allowing Food Train to recruit hundreds of new volunteers across Scotland to help thousands of older people.

The unplanned growth in service provision along with the need to protect a large workforce and vulnerable customer base is naturally bringing increased costs for the organisation. As such, community heroes providing the lifeline services are now calling on people across our region to donate to Food Train if possible. Donations allow them to provide more delivery boxes, fuel for delivery vehicles, personal protective equipment and hand sanitiser for volunteers.

Michelle Carruthers, Chief Executive of Food Train, said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of our volunteers and supporters who have stepped up to protect the most vulnerable people in our communities throughout this crisis. We’re delighted to have the support from SP Energy Networks to expand and sustain our services and are pleased we are able to make available our new Food Train Connects service. Any help you can give to help us continue responding effectively would be hugely appreciated. Donations can be made at justgiving.com/campaign/FoodTrain.”

Frank Mitchell, CEO at SP Energy Networks, said: “People across our regions are doing extraordinary things to help the most vulnerable in their community during the coronavirus outbreak. We’re proud to support Food Train and will be continuing to do what we can to assist the outstanding work of its volunteers across Scotland.”

As well as offering charitable support, teams of our engineers are working hard across the UK to keep the power flowing to the 3.5 million households who are depending on their electricity supply throughout the coronavirus crisis.

We have introduced special measures to protect the energy supply for critical national infrastructure and public service sites such as hospitals, nursing homes, food supply chain businesses and Ministry of Defence sites.

People who have received a letter from the NHS advising them that they are ‘at risk’ and should take additional measures to protect themselves from Covid-19 are being advised to sign up to our Priority Services Register. This provides free additional services to customers in vulnerable circumstances if there is an unexpected power cut. They should sign up at spenergynetworks.co.uk or text PSR to 61999.

In the event of a power cut, customers should call the national 105 hotline no matter who they pay their bill to. Find out more information about how SP Energy Networks is responding to Covid-19 .

For more information on the Food Train fundraising appeal, visit justgiving.com/campaign/FoodTrain

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