The retiring chair of the Community Foodbank Skye and Lochalsh has said people shouldn’t have to make a choice between ‘heat or eat’ and has urged anyone needing food to get in touch.
Two weeks ago, in an interview with the Free Press, Skye and Lochalsh Citizens Advice Bureau manager Morag Hannah warned that a combination of financial changes such as the cut to Universal Credit payments would culminate in a “perfect storm” that would leave many people worse off.
Echoing the comments of Ms Hannah, food bank chair Kate Kirk said: “I would reiterate what Morag said in that a perfect storm is brewing in our community with the end of the universal credit supplement, the end of furlough, increased heating bills, and the ending of seasonal employment.
“Food prices are also climbing so people can be faced with the dilemma of heat or eat.
“In many cases some people can’t afford their heating bills as well as pay for food.
“We want to let people know we are here because I think it’s important that people are aware we can help if they are having to make a choice between heating their home and eating.”
There are two branches of the foodbank, to cover the whole of the island and the Lochalsh area.
Ms Kirk said that there shouldn’t be any stigma around utilising the help the foodbank provides but noted that some people still have reservations about seeking assistance.
During the pandemic grants and supplies of food have been made from the Highland Council, and many others have been in touch to donate.
The Co-op’s community fund, Plockton School and Gael Force are among those who have helped.
To make sure food reaches those most in need, a working relationship is established with the following organisations:
Social Work (Portree and Kyle); Welfare Rights; UHI College; Viewfield Garden Collective; community nurses; community psychiatric nurses; midwives; health Visitors; Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association; Women’s Aid; RagTag Broadford; Health Improvement Advisor; Am Fasgadh (Skye and Lochalsh Mental Health Association); New Start; Family First, and Portree Medical Centre.
People can also get food for themselves, family, friends, or a neighbour for example through the local Citizens Advice Bureau, said Kate.
To contact the Skye and Lochalsh Citizens Advice Bureau, you can call 01478 612032 or email – firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the Community Foodbank Skye and Lochalsh directly, you can visit its Facebook page – search for The Community Foodbank – Skye and Lochalsh and send a message there or you can email – email@example.com.
Article by Adam Gordon