New foodbank offers a beacon of hope

From left - volunteer Margaret Donald, chairman Graham Holden, vice-chairman Eric Scrimgeour and secretary Clare Slight.
From left - volunteer Margaret Donald, chairman Graham Holden, vice-chairman Eric Scrimgeour and secretary Clare Slight.

A group of kind-hearted people in Kinross-shire have seen an ambitious dream realised with the opening of the county’s first independent foodbank.

The charity Broke Not Broken, which was founded around two years ago, has taken over the service from the Trussell Trust, which ran it from Kinross Day Centre.

It has taken over a dilapidated building in the grounds of St Paul’s Episcopal Church and turned it into a distribution hub for people in need.

The group has also applied for funding to invest in a bus to provide an outreach service to people living in surrounding villages.

“Rural poverty is a significant problem,” said Graham Holden, chairman of Broke Not Broken.

“The Trussell Trust did a great job but we felt the need extended further than Kinross itself and we wanted to provide a service for the whole of the Shire.

“There are many isolated, elderly and disabled people who need a whole range of support services, not just emergency food supplies.”

Known as The Beacon, the building is rented from the church for a peppercorn sum but both money and time has been spent on it to create a welcoming environment.

“The Beacon will allow us to respect people’s dignity and deal with their issues privately and confidentially,” said Graham.

“We will judge no one who comes through our doors. We are here to support everyone in this community, whether it’s with a food parcel, signposting them to relevant support services or assisting with funding applications.

“We have 30 volunteers who’ve been trained to provide the appropriate help for people who find themselves in crisis.”

The Beacon is open every Tuesday and Thursday from 10am to 2pm and referrals come from a variety of sources, including Women’s Aid, social services, housing services and GPs’ surgeries.

Organisations and businesses in and around Kinross have rallied round with support and the public have been generous with their food donations, dropping off non-perishable goods at the Loch Leven Health Centre, Kingfisher House in Milnathort and Sainsbury’s in Kinross, the first supermarket in Scotland to support an independent foodbank.

“There’s been a lot of blood, sweat and tears over the past few weeks but everyone has worked so hard to bring the Beacon to fruition,” said Graham.

“This has been made possible by the continuing support from so may people.

“It’s a wonderul thing to be part of a sharing community all willing to pull together to help people in a crisis.”