I sat down today for lunch with some volunteers at East Lothian Food Bank in Tranent. It was quite humbling to see the work that goes in to ensuring those in real need are able to feed their families and themselves. There are over 60 volunteers spread across East Lothian who do this vital work for the food bank. They showed me around the facility in Tranent, and we spoke about the challenges and opportunities the food bank faces. They made clear that there was an uptick in referrals following the introduction of Universal Credit in March 2016. As a child of the 60s in West Lothian I saw poverty, but it was nothing like we see today. It’s grinding and relentless and it’s now “in work poverty” that so many face.
One of the staff at the food bank spoke really passionately about the outreach work of the food bank. I was really impressed by the joined-up thinking on display. They are engaged in work to increase people’s budgeting and planning skills, supporting young people and families in learning how to cook nutritious meals at home and various other projects in the community. The food bank is a treasure, but the circumstances that have made these projects so important are the result of bad choices by successive Governments.
I applaud these volunteers who do incredible work in challenging circumstances. To find out more about their work, or to find out how to donate food, money or time, please visit their website: eastlothian.foodbank.org.uk