Little did we know, how the world would change over the last 12 months. No-one could have predicted the devastating effects this pandemic has wrought. Now face masks, national restrictions, widespread unemployment, shocking figures of premature deaths, and rising mental health issues are part of the natural landscape. And sadly, this is not happening far away, or even to a minority – I expect none of us have remained unaffected by what has happened.
All of these things, of course, have had a huge impact upon our service. The Trussell Trust figures make for grim reading. A record 1.9 million food parcels have been given out over the past year, 700,000 of them being for children. In Scotland 237,000 parcels have been given out. Over the past five years foodbank use has increased 74%. Our resource has never been more needed. Yet it is heartening to see that generosity has also never been higher. The Trussell Trust has raised £1million pounds over the past year. East Lothian Foodbank is also in a healthy financial position with everybody in the local community being incredibly generous with their donations, at a time when we ironically have been so restricted in what we can actually do with it.
But that does not mean we are complacent. The Trussell Trust has pledged to use their money to work for a ‘Hunger Free Future’ – a time when foodbanks will be no longer be needed. Their aims chime with our own in East Lothian, as the Board has plans which include sharing our funds with others who are working to alleviate poverty.
There are no signs that the pandemic will be going away so we will be unable to return to our partnership work or “more than food” initiatives in the short term. The trustees have therefore agreed as part of our future strategy to offer funds / grants to other local charities and organisations that are running grass roots projects to prevent or relieve poverty. This will be by way of a short application form. This grant is not designed to replace any funding you normally receive and should be treated as a set up or emergency grant. Each application would be treated on its own merits but we expect the each grant to be for a maximum of say £1,000.
If you know of any such groups who you think would benefit then please get them to contact our Treasurer Mark Singleton at: [email protected].