Recently I spoke during my colleague Elaine Murray’s member’s debate on the food train initiative and highlighted the positive example and work of the food train in Stirling within my region.
I previously met with staff and volunteers during an event in Parliament, along with those that benefit from their hard work. It was clear then that it was a valued programme and everyone spoke positively about their experience, which is why I was delighted to speak during the debate and congratulate staff and volunteers from across the country on the work they do.
The Food Train began in 1995 in Dumfries to help older people with the aim to help deliver fresh groceries to older people who were finding it difficult to do their weekly shopping. The Food Train was able to expand and in 2011 it arrived in Stirling. There are services also in Dundee, West Lothian, Glasgow, and Renfrewshire.
The service can deliver many benefits, beyond just the delivery of a weekly shop. Users are potentially able to stay in their own homes for longer thus retaining a degree of their independence and receive regular interaction and friendship from the volunteers. With a recent report from Age UK highlighting that half of all people over 75 live alone, with one in 10 over 65 feeling lonely, this interaction can be invaluable.
The health benefits of eating a healthy fresh diet are also clear to see. Food Train delivers fresh groceries supporting those who may otherwise have decided not to bother cooking a meal. Organisations like Food Train are important in encouraging older people to value nutrition. With a survey from the International Longevity Centre finding that around 10 per cent of people over the age of 65 suffer from either malnutrition or dehydration this is a real problem. I hope the Food Train continues to go from strength to strength.
A copy of the debate can be found by clicking here and a video of the debate, including my speech, is below.