Wigtownshire is to benefit from government funding announced this week in a bid to help tackle food poverty in the area.
Over half a million pounds of Scottish Government funding has been made available, enabling Dumfries and Galloway Citizens Advice to employ a new part-time staff member whose role will be to advice about food options available.
The Citizens Advice Service Dumfries and Galloway (D&GCAS)said this week the role, based in Stranraer, is to deliver advice sessions in food banks and other emergency food locations and to “look holistically at people’s situations to try to resolve root causes of the problems they face.”
The funding will also allow for another staff member, based in Dumfries.
Sue Irving, Chief Executive of D&GCAS, said: “This is a new and growing problem and we have seen a huge increase in the numbers of people we refer to food banks over the last year.
“Of course, we’d rather not be in the situation where it is necessary to provide advice to people who are struggling to put a meal on the table, but that is the reality for so many in our region.
“However, there are lots of things we at D&GCAS can help with if you are struggling to afford meals, from checking you are getting the benefits to which you are entitled, to negotiating debt on your behalf.
“So this funding will mean we can target those most in need and we thank the Scottish Government for their support.”
The funding for D&GCAS is just part of a larger package being delivered to 26 projects across Scotland, and the funding of £518,000 will deliver help in 17 local authority areas.
The government has already committed £500,000 to charity FareShare which redistributes surplus food from retailers to charities supporting their local communities.
In 2012, Wigtownshire’s first food bank was set up by the Machars Churches Basics Bank to assist people in need across the local area.
Non-perishable items such as canned food, nappies, toilet rolls and jars of food are received from volunteers towards restocking of the banks on an ongoing basis.
For more information on the Scottish Government’s Emergency Food Fund, find their press release at news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Help-for-those-in-food-poverty-f9b.aspx.