Here is an introduction to our project.
The Glasgow NW Foodbank is facilitated by Blawarthill Church. It was launched in May 2013 and is part of the Trussell Trust Foodbank Network. While Glasgow is a modern, vibrant city with many attractions, it has inherited a legacy of poverty and social deprivation from its industrial past. Our centres are situated among the most economically deprived areas of Scotland according to Government census statistics.
We employ a Project Manager, who is aided by over forty regular volunteers. The Foodbank relies on donations of food and money from members of the public. Last year (2019) the Foodbank distributed 10,205 food parcels, compared with 9,929 in 2018, a 2.8% increase and our highest ever total. The continued arrival of refugees and asylum seekers who were given accommodation in NW Glasgow, together with continuing challenges in the economy and ongoing delays for some in accessing the benefit system following the introduction of Universal Credit accounted for the increasing demand for our services. With each parcel made up to cover three days and three meals per day, the total number of meals provided in 2019 was 91,845. From an agreement between Tesco and the Trussell Trust, the Foodbank receives a 20% top-up. In all, 74.6 tonnes of products were donated by various donors – these include churches, community centres, nurseries, schools, companies, hotels & pubs, clubs, NHS staff, banks, football fans and many individuals.
Glasgow NW Foodbank had 4676 referrals in 2019, (2018 – 4661). The number of active referral agencies leaped from 117 in 2018, to a record total of 223. This shows how Glasgow NW is regarded as a dependable partner with an ability to give immediate help to individuals and families in food poverty. Referrers are drawn from a variety of sectors including charities, churches, community groups, statutory and voluntary agencies.
As well as the main administration and distribution centre at Blawarthill, which is open to clients Tuesdays and Fridays from 12 noon to 2.00 p.m., we have two satellite distribution centres in the Maryhill district, at Gairbraid Parish Church (open Mondays) and Ruchill Kelvinside Parish Church (open Thursdays). We speak to all our clients in order to get to know their personal situation, including finding out the main reason that they have been referred to the Foodbank. This helps us to signpost clients to other support services that will assist them to escape the poverty trap, and to alert official agencies to the reasons why people need to use food banks.