A charity which has made almost 29,000 deliveries of critical shopping supplies to older people in Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire is marking a milestone moment today. Food Train has a dedicated group of volunteers who make the lives of people aged 65 and over in the region better by ensuring they can eat well and live well.

The regional branch, which enjoys great community support, was first launched covering Renfrewshire in 2013, expanding its reach to cover East Renfrewshire last year. Its team controlling regional operations – taking customers’ grocery orders, doing their shopping and delivering items to their home – works from offices at Seedhill in Paisley.

The total number of people it has supported locally with the service so far has been highlighted a quarter of a century to the day since the organisation made its first five deliveries in Dumfries, where it was founded in 1995.

Its network now stretches across nine regions of Scotland, with more than 445,000 deliveries made nationally since that first day.

Explaining the impact of the charity’s work, Food Train Chief Executive Michelle Carruthers said: “If older people aren’t eating well, they’re not living well. If they’re not living well, then their health deteriorates. It’s that simple. By getting groceries to them, we help them to eat better, live better and improve the general health of the areas in which we operate.

“The certainty of knowing someone you trust is going to bring your food every week has a positive impact on people’s lives. But Food Train is about more than just shopping, it’s about social contact. We’re here to talk to those we support, to make sure they are cared for and help in any way that we can.

“Everyone connected with Food Train can be proud of our achievements. I would like to thank our staff, volunteers and supporters across Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire for all that they do and the positive difference they make to older peoples’ lives. Our work has never been needed more.”

Food Train nationally supports more than 3,000 members – many of them disabled or suffering from health problems – to eat well, enjoy more social contact and live at home for longer.

It has met unprecedented demand caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, responding to a 63% rise in people needing groceries collected and delivered to their homes.

It is currently supporting 3,100 people with grocery deliveries across Scotland – up from to 1,905 prior to the coronavirus pandemic. It is supported by 1,300 volunteers, an increase from about 800 since the beginning of March

Since its first delivery day, Food Train has:

  • Made more than 445,000 home shopping deliveries
  • Shopped £14.2 million-worth of groceries for customers
  • Clocked in excess of 1.3 million hours of volunteering time
  • Completed 12,600 household tasks through the At Home service
  • Hosted 1,000 befriending outings through Food Train Friends
  • Shared in the region of 26,000 meals through the Meal Makers scheme
  • Distributed grants worth £160,000 to tackle the causes of malnutrition among older people through its Eat Well Age Well project
  • Made 6,200 check-in calls to older people during the Covid-19 lockdown

As well as its shopping service, Food Train operates its At Home service – carrying out small jobs in older peoples’ homes – and its acclaimed befriending project to tackle loneliness as well as Meal Makers and Eat Well Age Well projects to deal with the causes of malnutrition in the over-65s, along with a library service. Earlier this month it launched Food Train Connects, a one-to-one national operation to reach areas that its established shopping service currently does not.

To find out about how Food Train could help you or someone you know, email shopping@thefoodtrain.co.uk or call 0800 3047924. To register as a volunteer, go to www.thefoodtrain.co.uk.