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North Ayrshire's Vulnerable Older People Seek The Public's Help

Local Charity Food Train is shocked and saddened to learn North Ayrshire Health & Social Care Partnership has decided not to renew their funding, meaning their vital weekly grocery shopping delivery service for older people will close on 31st March 2018. 

Since September 2015, Food Train volunteers have supported hundreds of frail older people to eat well and live independently at home, making over 7000 deliveries of fresh food with over 14,000 social contacts.  Service users say using Food Train helps them to eat better, reduces the prevalence of malnutrition, helps relieve loneliness and lowers the risks of falls.  Food Train currently has 172 service users in North Ayrshire with 32 new referrals being received in the last 3 months alone.  The majority of local service users are totally dependent on Food Train for their food and no alternative solution has been offered to them.

Food Train Chief Executive Michelle Carruthers MBE said “We are disappointed the views of older people were not sought in making this decision, nor were we approached to discuss any alternative ways of working.  In working with us more closely the partnership would see the adverse impact the loss of food and social contact will undoubtedly have on the frail vulnerable older people we support.  I fear this decision will not only compromise their safety, health and wellbeing but will lead to increased pressures on GP’s, care at home and hospital admissions.”

Upon hearing the news, the daughter of an elderly gentleman using Food Train contacted them saying “I am very saddened and upset to hear this news as this service has been of significant value to my family over the recent months we have been using it and have only the highest of praise for the service. It will have major implications for my family and will only increase the worry associated with caring for a family member from afar.” 

Food Train are calling on the North Ayrshire public to support their campaign to reinstate the funding.  People can get involved via Facebook and Twitter, @FoodTrainScot #SaveOurService or by contacting their elected members and by contacting the office directly on 01294 271025 or via email




For further information, contact:

Stuart Miller, Interim Regional Manager, Food Train North Ayrshire

Telephone: 01294 271025



Michelle Carruthers MBE

Chief Executive, Food Train

Telephone: 01387 270800 or 07732 974480

Notes to editors:

  1. Food Train is a multi-award winning Scottish Charity working across 8 regions of Scotland providing weekly food access, meal sharing, befriending, library deliveries and home support visits to older people. 
  2. The charity has almost 3,000 service users across Scotland and engages almost 1,000 volunteers to deliver the services locally.  Established in 1995 in Dumfries, Food Train began expanding the weekly food service to other regions in 2010, with each new branch supported by seed funding from the Scottish Government.
  3. Food Train’s grocery shopping delivery service was brought to North Ayrshire by North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership to support older people to live independently at home and to reduce pressure on current and future statutory Health and Social Care provision. The branch has grown significantly since launching in 2015, with over 7,000 vital food deliveries made to the area’s most frail and vulnerable older people.
  4. In December 2017, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon selected Food Train as one of 4 chosen charities to receive the proceeds from the auctioning of her official Christmas card artwork, painted by Scottish artist, John Byrne.
  5. Food Train also holds a Queens Golden Jubilee Award for voluntary service.