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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

People left vulnerable as vital service axed

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Service provides essential contact for elderly and isolated

Elderly people and the isolated in North Ayrshire are at risk after a vital food delivery service was axed.

Food Train North Ayrshire will stop operating at the end of March after North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership’s Integration Joint Board pulled the plug on the charity’s annual £75,000 funding.

Chief executive Michelle Carruthers MBE said the charity was "shocked and saddened" to learn that the charity’s funding wouldn’t be renewed, while Central Ayrshire MP Dr Philippa Whitford joined fellow politicians in expressing their fears.

Since 2015, the charity has provided a vital weekly grocery shopping delivery service for around 172 people, many of whom are over 85.

Around 40 volunteers and two employees have helped deliver the food, with many OAPs saying the service helps them to eat better, reduces the prevalence of malnutrition, helps relieve loneliness and lowers the risks of falls.

The charity has now launched a campaign to have the funding reinstated with an online petition.

Carruthers said: “We are disappointed the views of older people were not sought in making this decision, nor were we approached to discuss any alternative ways of working.

“In working with us more closely the partnership would see the adverse impact the loss of food and social contact will undoubtedly have on the frail vulnerable older people we support.

“I fear this decision will not only compromise their safety, health and wellbeing but will lead to increased pressures on GPs, care at home and hospital admissions.”

Cunninghame North MSP Kenneth Gibson has submitted a motion to Scottish Parliament raising concerns the community will suffer.

The motion has been backed by MSPs Rona Mackay, Ruth Maguire, Joan McAlpine, Richard Lyle and James Dornan.

Central Ayrshire MP Dr Philippa Whitford said: “I was extremely disappointed to hear from the Food Train North Ayrshire that the council’s Health and Social Care Partnership has decided not to renew their funding.

"As vice-chair of the APPG on Hunger in Westminster, I am acutely aware of the increasing number of elderly people who are struggling to eat well due to difficulties with shopping or cooking and who are becoming malnourished.

“This decision seems short-sighted and I will be raising it with the council at our next meeting.”