Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown has praised the work of volunteers who run local food banks following a recent visit to the Rhins Churches Basics Bank in Stranraer.
The MP’s visit followed on from a similar visit to the Machars Churches Basics Bank in Newton Stewart last year. At that time the Machars Churches had four distribution points – Newton Stewart, Wigtown, Whithorn, and Port William. The MP met with volunteers at the Rhins Churches facility in Stranraer, which is owned by the council, to find out at first hand how the provision of food banks by local churches has developed across Wigtownshire.
Mr Brown said: “I first met volunteers from the Machars Basics Bank in Newton Stewart at one my Welfare Reform Summits last year in Stranraer. At the time I was keen to find out more about their work, because it is community initiatives like these who are helping people affected by the Government’s changes to the benefits system but also supporting families hit by a sudden crisis such as the loss of a job, bereavement, injury or illness. It was therefore good to follow up my last visit by meeting with volunteers in Stranraer to find out how Basics Bank provided by local churches was being expanded across Wigtownshire. The Rhins Basics Bank in Stranraer is well run and responds brilliantly to the referrals they receive from a range of agencies. This is to the huge credit of all the volunteers from churches across Wigtownshire who deserve enormous praise for the way they have come together to help people in these tough times, but also to the hundreds of local people who have donated goods.
“Due to the Government’s welfare reform policies we know that demand for Food banks is likely to increase in the months ahead. So I would strongly urge local people to continue to support the Food Banks in their area by donating what they can. This can be non perishable food such as sugar, cereal and tins or basic toiletries.
“The churches Basics Banks in Wigtownshire are an excellent initiative and just some of the Food Banks that have been set up across Dumfries and Galloway. There are now Food Banks in Dumfries, the Stewartry and Wigtownshire. I am keen to ensure that as many communities as possible have access to such initiatives because although it is little short of a disgrace that we have Food Banks in 2014, the reality is in the current climate they are needed more than ever before”.