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Concern for food bank donations after TV comments

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By Tom Hanley
Dumfries and West
Concern for food bank donations after TV comments

A FOOD BANK co-ordinator in the region fears donations could drop after comments made in a televised election debate.

During Sunday’s Scottish Leaders Debate, an Edinburgh nurse claimed she had to visit food banks and could not manage on her wages.

However, photos have since emerged on social media of the woman enjoying five star dining and holidays.
Mark Frankland, of The First Base Agency in Dumfries, is worried that it could impact on people’s generosity, and their perception of food banks.

He said: “To suggest food banks are a soft touch is ridiculous, we’re a lot more professional than that. In my 13 years, I’ve never seen a nurse.

“This is why food banks like First Base are collateral damage. We are completely reliant on the £45,000 worth of food our local community donates to us every year.

“Without this generosity we would have to turn people away – and these would not be people earning, these would be people with not a single penny to their names.”

Explaining the system, Mr Frankland added: “We do emergency food, as in last resort food. We often see people who are receiving their benefits in full who are finding life tough. Obviously they are, living on £60 a week isn’t anyone’s idea of a picnic. Do we give them a food parcel? No we don’t. We say ‘no’ because we have no choice.

“Were we to give emergency food to everyone out there who is trying to survive on benefits, we wouldn’t be handing out 5000 emergency food parcels a year: we would be handing out 50,000 and we couldn’t manage that.”


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