Stewartry Food Train looking for volunteers for befriending service

By Stuart Gillespie

A shopping delivery service for old folk is on the look out for new volunteers.

The Food Train delivery vans have been running constantly during the coronavirus pandemic with helpers going out in all weather to buy and drop off groceries.

Shopping orders are collected on a Monday and delivered across the Stewartry on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays with customers paying for their shopping on receipt plus a £5 delivery charge.

The volunteers shop in Co-op and Tesco and Castle Douglas and delivery volunteers go out in pairs.

Food Train is currently looking for a Tesco shopper to help on Thursday mornings.

And the charity’s Food Train Friends scheme is also on the lookout for more volunteer befriendiers, particularly in the Dalbeattie and Colvend areas.

The befriending service began in the Stewartry in 2017 and is back up and running after being put on hold by the pandemic. Demand for the service has increased as older people have been feeling more isolated than ever due to lockdown. Volunteers are matched with someone for one-to-one visits on a weekly or fortnightly basis.

One of the newer matches is volunteer Annie and customer Shirley who got to know each other on the phone during lockdown this year before meeting for the first time in May. They have lots in common – including star signs – and do each other the world of good.

Shirley said: “We felt like long lost sisters. She’s made me feel more positive about the future. It’s heaven!”

Annie added: “For my part, Shirley has been an absolute joy to get to know and I respect her so much and admire what she has achieved in life. She’s intelligent and funny and we are always sharing stories of what naughty things we got up to in the past and roaring with laughter. I look forward to my visits such a lot.”

To find out more about becoming a volunteer befriender or shopper, call Jif or Isobel on 01556 288427 or e-mail

Food Train is also currently one of Castle Douglas Co-op’s causes’, meaning Co-op members can sign up to donate 1p in every £1 they spend. To do so, visit

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