Two of the city's most prominent foodbank organisers accuse each other of abusive, threatening behaviour
A foodbank war is being waged in Glasgow the likes of which would rival the city’s notorious Ice Cream Wars in the 1980s, it has been claimed.
Two of the city’s most prominent foodbanks, Glasgow’s Needy and Greater Maryhill Foodbank, are accusing each other of “criminal” and threatening behaviour, despite both working to help some of the city's most vulnerable families.
Glasgow’s Needy founders Darren Carnegie (pictured below) and his dad Andrew say they’ve received death threats, verbal abuse and harassment in the street and at home because of the anti-poverty group’s massive popularity on the back of the referendum campaign.
And the group claims some of that harassment has come from one of the country’s biggest foodbanks – Greater Maryhill – an allegation that charity firmly refutes.
Darren Carnegie explained: “It’s absolutely vile. We’ve become victims of our own success but we weren’t prepared for the fallout from jealous, ego-driven people who purport to be charitable.
“I’ve had notes put through my letterbox saying I’m going to be killed, I’ve had people phoning me up swearing down the phone, accusing me of fraud and operating a sham charity.
"It's like a foodbank industry has been created where people get threatened because you're on their patch.
"That's what happened with the Ice Cream Wars and it looks like it's happening again."
Carnegie said he has also been subjected to “abusive and threatening tirades” from Greater Maryhill Foodbank’s founder Julie Webster (pictured above) – saying that the charity was deliberately trying to discredit the good work it was doing because it was envious of its success.
“Webster just opened up on me with a tirade of foul-mouthed abuse for no reason,” he said. “She was demanding to know where the food was going, if we had any cash donations and threatening to go to the police and close us down.
“Yet all we are doing is supporting families in poverty. We’re doing nothing wrong.”
However Webster firmly denied Carnegie’s claims and instead accused him and his father of abusive and hostile behaviour towards her.
She said the Carnegies have been openly “bad mouthing” other foodbanks in a bid to gain prominence in Glasgow – an allegation supported by other Glasgow foodbanks TFN has learned.
“Darren Carnegie is bad but his dad is even worse,” Webster told TFN. “I find it incredible people are taken in by these two. They are vicious, threatening and totally out of order. They actually frighten me and I’ve warned others not to go near them, especially my female colleagues.”
“Darren said to me I had no right to question his motives or to ask about transparency, followed by a foul mouthed tirade.
“If it happens again it will be a police matter.”
Another foodbank manager who asked not to be named said the Carnegies had threatened them.
“I think they are out their depth,” they said. “It’s all happened to them very quick and the success has gone to their head. They are very, very abusive and while I don’t know if they are doing anything untoward, I just don’t think they are going about things the right way.
“At best they are hopelessly unprofessional.”
Last week Darren Carnegie attempted to gate-crash a Labour Party gala dinner in Glasgow Grand Central Hotel – but was stopped by security.
He also camped for a week in a tent outside Glasgow’s city chambers to raise awareness of poverty in the city.
Carnegie, however, said he has no plans to turn his cause into a charity, saying the extra “bureaucracy and regulation would hinder us from helping those who need it most.”
John Downie, director of public affairs for the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, said: “All charities and voluntary groups need to be very open and transparent about how they operate and ensure that they can demonstrate to members of the public that they are doing what they set out to do.
“Whenever someone supports a charity they are doing so in good faith and make a judgement call that they can trust that particular organisation.”
So far no allegations have been made to the police.