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Glasgow Food Train enters fight for survival after losing council funding bid

This news post is over 1 year old

Talks get underway with local authority officials in bid to identify new funding sources.

A Glasgow charity on the brink of closure says hundreds of older people across the city risk going hungry unless fresh funding talks are a success.

City councillors meeting on Thursday, January 12, approved a recommendation not to continue funding Food Train in the city over the next three financial years.

The decision has left the charity, which provides lifeline shopping and meal-making services to more than 400 over-65s across the city, facing closure by the end of March.

Members of Glasgow City Council’s City Administration Committee faced a chorus of calls not to pull the plug on its support for the Govanhill-based cause, which it has backed for the past 10 years. 

Some councillors raised concerns as the recommendation was debated.

Food Train has made more than 67,000 grocery deliveries in that time.

In the wake of its decision, new funding talks are, however, underway with the authority to see if other sources of support can be identified.

Food Train chief executive, Michelle Carruthers, said: “We’re deeply disappointed for our older members that the committee decided not to support us, despite us making all councillors aware of the stark situation we face. It’s terribly sad.

“Unless we can find a new funding source - and fast - our Glasgow branch faces closure within weeks. That’s a scandalous prospect, one that will leave hundreds of people in every corner of the city in danger of going hungry. Who else is going to deliver their food?

“We are, however, heartened that the council has entered dialogue. The importance of progressing these discussions positively cannot be underestimated.”

Food Train’s rejected funding application to Glasgow City Council was for a three-year package of support made up of around £150,000 each year until 2026.

Food Train has received tremendous support from members and their families, the public and politicians since it found out about the recommendation not to fund its city work - less than 48 hours before Thursday morning’s decision meeting.

The charity argues it’s a recommendation that flies in the face of public policies to do everything possible to keep older people well and living at home to ease strain on NHS and social care services as they face incredible pressures.

Ms Carruthers, a former nurse who has led Food Train for 20 years, added: “Our members are incredibly worried about what the future now holds for them. We want them to be reassured though that we are doing everything we can to secure funding to ensure there’s no disruption in service to them.

“Our members should be encouraged that their voice has been heard over the past few days and that the council has reached out to us and that talks have started. We really welcome that contact from them. Hopefully we can find a resolution. Our thanks go to everyone who has got behind our older people.

“We are also pleased for the charities which did secure funding from Glasgow City Council, each of whom do valuable work locally.”