Peebles volunteers celebrate cash handout helping feed townsfolk during lockdown

A £20,000 handout to Peebles charity the Food Foundation is helping keep vulnerable townsfolk fed and safe during the coronavirus lockdown.

Monday, 8th June 2020, 4:06 pm
Nicola Harrison volunteers at the Food Foundation in Peebles.

The social enterprise has adapted from a training centre and work experience kitchen to a working food production unit feeding more than 100 shielding townsfolk through the delivery of two-course meals five days-a-weeks, thanks to its 60-odd volunteers and a £20,050 handout from National Lottery’.

Operations manager Yvonne Maclaren said: “This money is bring used to feed people in the community who are shielding, who may be frail, or who may be having financial difficulties throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We have been doing this since the lockdown began and we started out with nine people on our list and today have over 100.

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“We are doing free of charge food preparation and delivery to feed people for a full week, and that’s all down to some wonderful volunteers. We have chefs who have been furloughed come in to help and others are doing washing up, sweeping floors and helping with the admin.”

Ordinarily the Food Foundation offers SQA-approved hospitality work experience and training.

“The training modules can be transferred in to other sectors like retail, bar work, customer service and hospitality,” Yvonne added. “Our large kitchen at Victoria Park offers work experience and we supply cafes and shops in Peebles with our produce as well as providing private and corporate buffets for the likes of birthday parties.

“We are about building the confidence of those who are disadvantaged in the labour market due to a mental illness or learning difficulty.

“When all this started we had to stop our usual work. We changed it around very quickly and worked hard to get this funding so we could offer this service.

“The Food Foundation is all about helping people in the community who need it so it’s nice to be able to carry on doing that even though not in the way we originally would.”

Catering manager Ali Cartmail and her deputy Annette Lumsden are heading up a team of 18 volunteers making food and a further 40-odd doing deliveries across the town.

“They are running the kitchen six days-a-week providing hot two-course dinners which are delivered Monday to Friday and some freezer food for the weekend too.

“The group are being aided by donations from Peebles CAN, FairShare and from the community.”