Minister boards the food train

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Local Government Minister Derek Mackay today visited the Food Train, a project which helps older people by bringing them their groceries and giving them extra support at home.

Mr Mackay visited the project at its Dumfries headquarters, met staff and volunteers, and heard more about its work.

The Food Train is a charity that began in Dumfries in 1995 after a community survey of older people found that many were struggling to get their weekly grocery shopping. It now covers Dumfries & Galloway, West Lothian, Stirling and Dundee City, thanks to Government, local authority and foundation funding.

Local Government Minister Derek Mackay said:

“The Food Train is a brilliant example of the third sector, local government and central government working together to make peoples lives better on the ground.

“Bringing older people their weekly groceries and giving them a little bit of help around the house can make the difference between someone being able to stay in their home, and having to move into residential care.

“Not only does this mean a better outcome for the older person concerned – being able to stay at home and keep their independence – but the relatively small expense of bringing groceries can help save the much larger cost of a residential home place.

“This is a perfect example of the preventative spending approach set out by the Scottish Governement , deploying resources early to prevent difficulties developing, making peoples’ lives better and saving money.

“While I was in Dumfries as part of my summer tour I took the opportunity to meet informally with the leader, deputy leader and chief executive of Dumfries and Galloway council.

“A strong and effective partnership between the Scottish Government and local government is central to improving quality of life for people across Scotland, and to delivering sustainable economic growth in a tight public sector spending environment.

“Building a partnership for progress across the country will be essential as we work together to address challenges of the tight public sector spending climate, which is why I look forward to working with Councils in the years ahead.”

Michelle McCrindle, Chief Executive of the Food Train said:

“We are delighted that Derek MacKay, chose to visit Food Train.  It was a great opportunity for us to share our valuable work with him and highlight the food access needs of older people across Scotland.”

Cllr Ivor Hyslop, Leader of the Council said: ”We always welcome a dialogue and building our relationship with Ministers so that there is a full understanding of the needs and opportunities for our region at national level.  We were delighted that the Minster chose to visit the Crichton and the Food Train as part of his summer tour as they are both excellent examples of innovation and achievement with future development potential.”

Find out more about the Food Train.