The core aim of Food Train continues to be to provide a low-cost grocery delivery service and other practical support to those unable to do their weekly grocery shopping through age related frailty, ill health or disability. The objective of the service is to support people to live independently in their own home and community for as long as possible, and positively impact on their health and well being through increased social contact.
25 years later shopping delivery is still Food Train’s largest service. Teams of local volunteers in 9 local branches across Scotland collect a completed shopping list from the customer which is then taken to our partner shops. Teams of volunteer shoppers make up the order and delivery volunteers then collect the order and transport it to the customer’s home.
Morna O’May from Food Train said: “In the very first week of the Covid 19 pandemic developing in the UK, it was clear that older people were going to be asked to protect themselves more and for longer than the general population. It was also clear that national infrastructure to help older people access food, meals, money, information and medications was very weak. Our expertise was in relation to food and meals, therefore, with funding support, we planned to scale up our response and build an infrastructure to cover all of Scotland – this was the birth of Food Train Connects.”
Food Train Connects reaches all 32 local authority areas in Scotland, recruiting volunteers and matching them on a one to one basis with an older person in their local area in need of support with their weekly grocery shopping.
The focus of Food Train Connects is developing a meaningful connection between a volunteer and their shopping friend. The service is designed for older people needing some help with regular grocery shopping: their Connects Shopping Friend will arrange a suitable day/time to regularly carry out the shopping and delivery, also putting items away if required.
Morna added: “Food Train Connects continues to go from strength to strength, reaching all parts of Scotland including Stirling. As well as our Connects Shopping Friends, the launch of Connects Phone Friends is on its way and there are plans for many more services for older people that will help connect them to their local community.”
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