The Trussell Trust Opens Foodbank in Shetland

by Elizabeth Atia -

On Friday 19th August, Shetland Foodbank, now in partnership with The Trussell Trust and New Life Church, was opened at its new Magnus Street premises above the Skills Centre.

This service will provide seven days’ worth of nutritionally-balanced food to men, women and children experiencing crisis all over the Shetland Islands. Individuals and families will be referred by statutory and voluntary agencies, such as a CAB advisor, housing or social worker. As well as an emergency food parcel, they will receive a warm welcome, a listening ear and signposting to further support. In those instances where an individual cannot travel to the foodbank centre in Lerwick, volunteers will ensure the parcel can be delivered.

Food parcels have been distributed in the Islands for many years. However, this partnership with The Trussell Trust will allow development of the service in a number of ways:

  • A corporate partnership with Tesco means that as well as the opportunity to benefit from food donated during Neighbourhood Collections held in-store, Shetland Foodbank will receive a 20% financial top-up on the weight of food collected.
  • A newly-updated Data Collection System allows the foodbank to record the number of parcels distributed as well as the reasons for the individuals’ referral. This data feeds into national statistics which paint a powerful picture of the extent of food poverty across the United Kingdom, and demonstrates the issues causing the most hardship.

Despite being Scotland’s least deprived local authority, demand for emergency food parcels has grown over the last year for a variety of reasons, including high cost of living, low wage jobs, benefit sanctions and delays and zero hours contracts.

Angela Nunn, Project Manager at the Foodbank (pictured second from the left, above) says, “We’ve seen people come in crying tears of shame, unable to look at us – unable to speak to us – because they feel so bad. But we see them leave with a smile on their face.

The fact this service is still needed makes me very cross. I would love not to be doing this job. I know that would be my goal. Poverty is a choice that society makes. We need to campaign for a different kind of society.”

“Shetland is a place you would never assume food poverty exists. Yet there are people right across the country experiencing difficulty, through no fault of their own.” - Ewan Gurr, Scotland Network Manager – The Trussell Trust

“New Life Church has a part to play in the skills centre we are now standing in as well as the foodbank. We want to see the church be able to reach in to the community. For us those are really important issues," explains Jamie Tonge, Pastor of New Life Shetland.

"Over the centuries the church, very much, has been at the cutting edge, the forefront, of social concern. We live in a land where we have so much. But we are living in days now where we don’t have loads and loads of money. But, what we do have, is people. And you would be surprised how many people really care about what’s happening.”

Shetland Foodbank, 20a Magnus Street, Lerwick, Shetland, ZE1 0JT 01595 693094 email info@shetland.foodbank.org.uk

Shetland Citizen's Advice Bureau 01595 694696

Shetland Island's Council 01595 693535

The Trussell Trust

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