SNP MP FOR PERTH & PERTHSHIRE NORTH Keep supporting this vital service
Around this time last year my office was first registered to be able to refer people to Perth and Kinross Foodbank.
For the vast majority of people who are fortunate enough not to have had to rely on a foodbank, most do not realise that people who use foodbank services are referred by other agencies and don’t simply turn up at the door looking for assistance.
For organisations like the TrussellTrust, who administer Perth and Kinross Foodbank, this is largely to ensure proper logs of who is using the foodbank and to ensure that those who are most in need of the service are getting quick access to it.
During the last year I have been shocked by the number of people who have come to my office looking for a referral to the local foodbank.
Whilst my office deals with a large number of sometimes vulnerable individuals on a weekly basis, staff have still been surprised by just how many people are falling through the cracks and who need to come to us to ask for emergency help.
The vast majority of people only ever come once or twice, as normally whatever problems they are having can be resolved, even if it is not always as quickly as we would like.
There are many reasons that people need to ask for emergency help.
Problems in receiving welfare benefits is pretty high on the list and the roll-out of universal credit in my constituency has meant an increase in those who have no idea when their next payment might be made.
Issues in receiving payments from the child maintenance service has also featured prominently on the list and this is something which disproportionally affects women the most.
I was troubled to be contacted by staff and volunteers from Perth and Kinross Foodbank recently who have a real worry that their current financial situation and rent costs may mean that they will have to close their doors in as little as twelve months.
I have already contacted Perth and Kinross Council who have agreed to look again at the decision not to offer any financial assistance to the charity. I will continue to do what I can to assist in ensuring that this important local charity continues to operate.
The foodbank is always looking for donations – both monetary and of course in food to distribute.
Whilst many people are making a conscious effort to donate around Christmas time, January can often be when help is needed the most.
I would encourage anyone who can donate even just a few tins or packets to consider helping and to remember them throughout 2018. Donation points can be found by going to www. perthkinross.foodbank.org. uk
Concerns Pete Wishart pictured during a visit to the Perth and Kinross Foodbank earlier this year