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The Food Train

The Food Train

Providing shopping deliveries for the isolated elderly, disabled and housebound

The Food Train has dramatically expanded its shopping delivery service for isolated elderly, disabled and housebound people living in Dumfries and Galloway. The charity was a poorly resourced, town-based service that has managed to develop into a region wide provider six times its original size in just four years, filling a major gap in statutory provision.

The Food Train already offered services in its local town but knew there were many elderly people in the rest of the region who desperately needed its help. Consultation with local CVSs, and the local Elderly Forum and Age Concern indicated that the service expansion would be well received. The development plan centred around gaining funding from the Scottish Executive. Although hidden costs of £92,000 emerged, extra money was raised and the service flourished.

Michelle McCrindle, chief executive, says: 'Before the development, we had one branch, one office, 50 members, on van, 12 volunteers and one shop which added up to 3,000 deliveries a year. Since raising the funds, we have opened six new offices and six branches, attracted 450 members, acquired nine vans, has 130 volunteers and 30 local shops allowing the service to make approximately 13,000 deliveries a year.'

Its annual customer survey shows that 60 per cent receive no other services and 54 per cent would not be able to get their food shopping without the Food Train's support.

McCrindle says: 'One woman lives 27 miles from the nearest shop. When her husband was taken into care, the council stopped visiting her, because he was the one registered for services. By the time we got to her, she had gone nine weeks without a delivery and was on the brink of starvation.'

The judges were impressed with the service: 'It is changing people's lives and hitting a real niche.'

Michelle McCrindle
Chief executive
182 St Michael Street
Dumfries
Scotland DG1 2PR
01387 270800
Reg no: SC024843
www.thefoodtrain.co.uk

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