Restoring pride for local foodbank users

Director Roger Kelly, at Penicuik Storehouse
Director Roger Kelly, at Penicuik Storehouse

Community project Penicuik Storehouse has been awarded a £60,000 grant from Holyrood to tackle foodbank dependency in the area.

With 600 people expected to receive foodbank support in Penicuik in the next year, Penicuik Community Alliance Ltd, trading as Penicuik Storehouse, has been awarded a grant of £60,000 from a new Fairer Food Transition Fund (FFTF), set up by the Scottish Government, to help people move from dependency on foodbanks to a more dignified and sustainable living.

It will support the Alliance in employing two people for 16 months.

With volunteer help, they will establish links with foodbank and temporary home providers in Penicuik.

Roger Kelly, chairman, explained more about the project.

He said: “We will receive surplus supermarket food under contract from Fairshare in Edinburgh and encourage food donations from the community.

“We will also offer training in cookery and other life skills.

“The community supermarket in the Storehouse will support individuals and families to move on from foodbank dependency and will be a vital part of all the other facilities at the Storehouse.

“A statutory six-week limit on foodbank support creates a need for new pathways to healthy and affordable nutrition. This is much needed.

“This projects supports people to get into a sustainable position and not be dependent on emergency foodbank provision.

“It’s something we had always intended to do.”

Penicuik Storehouse will trial one of those pathways within its premises, currently under refurbishment.

The former Nickel and Dime premises in the High Street, will incorporate a bakery, cafe, and indoor market.

It will also include the aforementioned community supermarket, to help people move on from foodbank dependency.

Roger added: “We have had a large backing from people in Penicuik. We need to bring life back into the town centre.

“We are hoping to open briefly before Christmas. And then be fully operation in the next calender year.

“It’s very much needed. We can’t wait to get started in the premises.”

Roger also thanked the Scottish Government, local traders and Penicuik First for their support.

Penicuik councillor Derek Rosie (SNP) was full of praise for the foodbank project.

He said: “It’s tremendous. As the more we can do to mitigate the effects is to be welcomed. And I think what the Alliance are doing can only be good for the area.

“I’m quite keen to see the Storehouse opened as I think it will attract people into the centre of Penicuik.”