Vital cash support given to Dumfries First Base foodbank team

A foodbank which has been a lifeline to families in Dumfries and Galloway for 18 years has been granted much-needed support.

The First Base Emergency Food Project requested a grant from Annandale and Eskdale Area Committee’s tackling poverty and inequalities fund.

The charity pointed out that there was a “spectacular surge in demand” last year during the pandemic and this peaked with 700 emergency food parcels being dished out across Annandale and Eskdale in August 2020.

While that demand has since dropped to around 250 food parcels per month, First Base says it costs £41,800 per year to run its project and applied for a council grant of £5,000.

The Dumfries-based organisation, which is operated by Mark Frankland, stated: “The positive difference we make to those we support has never changes.

“If a person has nothing to eat, we provide them with four days worth of food.

“Not having to spend scant funds on food enables those we help to focus on other priorities – heat and light, rent, debts etc.

“We do not ration our food parcels – we provide emergency food for as long as it is needed.

“This can be a key element in an individual or family being able to halt the
slide into ever deeper poverty.

“We have kept the project running for 18 years and never once have we had to tell a client we are unable to help them due to a lack of food. We anticipate meeting a continued demand for our service for many years to come.”

Area committee councillors agreed to grant the full £5,000 requested.

Meanwhile, five other community organisations which applied for cash were awarded grants to continue their work.

Newstart Recycle in Annan, which provides upcycled furniture and household items at a low cost, received its full £5,000 grant request.

D&G Handyvan, a charity based in Lockerbie helping vulnerable people, applied for £2,500 to fund its radio-linked smoke alarm pilot project and was awarded £1,250.

The Friends of St Columba’s was awarded £3,750 towards its breakfast club, which provides a morning meal to roughly 20 pupils at St Columba’s Primary School in Annan.

Dumfries and Galloway Citizens Advice Service received a grant of £3,750 towards its ethnic minority communities project.

This is primarily to provide support and via a specialist advisor to ethnic communities on issues
such as housing and citizenship.

Mossburn Community Farm in Hightae was allocated £2,500 towards its Learning With Horses project which supports people in poverty or people with poverty-related mental health issues through a programme of education and support.

These grant awards left £11,890 sitting in the Annandale and Eskdale Area Committee pot.

Councillors Sean Marshall and Archie Dryburgh called for the fund to be reopened for more applications and this was agreed.

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