A foodbank has made a desperate plea for help – warning council cash has come to an end and funding will dry up without further help.
West Dunbartonshire Community Foodshare, which has seen a massive increase in demand, say the money is vital to allow them to continue next year.
The charity has been in operation for the past nine years and has handed out an incredible 105,218 food parcels to those in desperate need.
And with the cost of living crisis continuing to bite, chief Clair Coyle warned support is needed more than ever.
She recently invited West Dunbartonshire councillors from the new Labour administration and local dignitaries to their base at Levenvalley Enterprise Centre.
Clair handed a letter to each of them outlining their plight, which said: “We desperately need funding for the next four years in order to continue helping those in need in West Dunbartonshire.”
She told the Lennox Herald: “The agreements with the council are more or less finished, but we do still have funding in place to see out this year.
“We need to make sure that long-term we are still here because things won’t be improving anytime soon.
“The reason for the open day was because the number of people seeking support due to food insecurity is rising, and it is to spread awareness of that and raise the profile of the charity to get the word out that we are here to support people.
“It is a new administration, so there are brand new councillors who might not be 100 percent aware of what we do.
“The perception is from the outside that it is just people on benefits accessing support when it’s families, somewhere parents are working full time, but their money isn’t lasting the full month.
“It is a big worry, we have several folks accessing support who have donated to us in the past.
“It does make you think because we don’t know how far we are away from seeking support from people like us.
“The pandemic changed things completely, and people found themselves in situations where they never in a million years thought they would be in.
“If we never got another donation, we would have nothing left because it is leaving as quickly as it’s coming in.”
The organisation saw a huge 84 percent increase in the number of people seeking support, which has risen a further 10 percent in the past six months as a result of the cost of living crisis.
Despite this, Foodshare has been able to absorb the increase in demand since the beginning of the pandemic because of some funding received from West Dunbartonshire Council.
West Dunbartonshire Council has granted £50,000 to the charity for the last two years but as of last month, there are no further funding agreements in place.
Labour councillor Michelle McGinty, who attended the open day and is chair of the cost of living working group, said: “Organisations like this are a lifeline, so it is our responsibility as councillors to support them when we can.
“Foodbanks are about helping people in a time of crisis, you don’t need to face this crisis alone.”
Council leader Martin Rooney said the council will do Its best to support the charity, commenting: “The cost of living is a huge priority for the council, everybody has been affected by it.
“It is good that we can target the people most affected by it.
“It is important that the foodbank does their job, the volunteers do their job, and the council as a body actively supports foodbanks and gives them resources to help them deliver for the people of West Dunbartonshire.”
A spokesperson for West Dunbartonshire Council said: “A £52,000 commitment to support foodbanks was agreed at the June meeting of the Council.
“We are in the process of agreeing the distribution of the funding across West Dunbartonshire foodbanks and expect payments to commence in October.”