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North Ayrshire News

North Ayrshire's Vulnerable Older People Seek The Public's Help

Local Charity Food Train is shocked and saddened to learn North Ayrshire Health & Social Care Partnership has decided not to renew their funding, meaning their vital weekly grocery shopping delivery service for older people will close on 31st March 2018. 

Since September 2015, Food Train volunteers have supported hundreds of frail older people to eat well and live independently at home, making over 7000 deliveries of fresh food with over 14,000 social contacts.  Service users say using Food Train helps them to eat better, reduces the prevalence of malnutrition, helps relieve loneliness and lowers the risks of falls.  Food Train currently has 172 service users in North Ayrshire with 32 new referrals being received in the last 3 months alone.  The majority of local service users are totally dependent on Food Train for their food and no alternative solution has been offered to them.

Food Train Chief Executive Michelle Carruthers MBE said “We are disappointed the views of older people were not sought in making this decision, nor were we approached to discuss any alternative ways of working.  In working with us more closely the partnership would see the adverse impact the loss of food and social contact will undoubtedly have on the frail vulnerable older people we support.  I fear this decision will not only compromise their safety, health and wellbeing but will lead to increased pressures on GP’s, care at home and hospital admissions.”

Upon hearing the news, the daughter of an elderly gentleman using Food Train contacted them saying “I am very saddened and upset to hear this news as this service has been of significant value to my family over the recent months we have been using it and have only the highest of praise for the service. It will have major implications for my family and will only increase the worry associated with caring for a family member from afar.” 

Food Train are calling on the North Ayrshire public to support their campaign to reinstate the funding.  People can get involved via Facebook and Twitter, @FoodTrainScot #SaveOurService or by contacting their elected members and by contacting the office directly on 01294 271025 or via email




For further information, contact:

Stuart Miller, Interim Regional Manager, Food Train North Ayrshire

Telephone: 01294 271025



Michelle Carruthers MBE

Chief Executive, Food Train

Telephone: 01387 270800 or 07732 974480

Notes to editors:

  1. Food Train is a multi-award winning Scottish Charity working across 8 regions of Scotland providing weekly food access, meal sharing, befriending, library deliveries and home support visits to older people. 
  2. The charity has almost 3,000 service users across Scotland and engages almost 1,000 volunteers to deliver the services locally.  Established in 1995 in Dumfries, Food Train began expanding the weekly food service to other regions in 2010, with each new branch supported by seed funding from the Scottish Government.
  3. Food Train’s grocery shopping delivery service was brought to North Ayrshire by North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership to support older people to live independently at home and to reduce pressure on current and future statutory Health and Social Care provision. The branch has grown significantly since launching in 2015, with over 7,000 vital food deliveries made to the area’s most frail and vulnerable older people.
  4. In December 2017, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon selected Food Train as one of 4 chosen charities to receive the proceeds from the auctioning of her official Christmas card artwork, painted by Scottish artist, John Byrne.
  5. Food Train also holds a Queens Golden Jubilee Award for voluntary service.

South Ayrshire pilot service launches

We are delighted to have launched our pilot service in South Ayrshire on 5 September 2016. With funding support from Scottish Government, we are providing our vital shopping service to people aged 65+ lviing in the towns of Ayr, Prestwick and Troon. For more information contact our North Ayrshire branch, who are running the pilot on a 1 year basis. 


North Ayrshire branch - March 2016 update

Our new North Ayrshire branch hit the tracks on 1 September 2015, and is going from strength to strength. We had our official red ribbon launch in December, a lovely event officiated by Councillor Anthea Dickson at the Harbour Arts Centre in Irvine. We have a team of 25 local volunteers, who are collecting lists, making up orders and delivering shopping to 85 older people in North Ayrshire, many of whom are using the service weekly or fortnightly. Our retail partner in North Ayrshire is Sainsbury's in Irvine. Store Manager Martin Kelly said 'it is a privilege to support such a fantastic community service and to be able to be part of something that provides such a vital life line for older people'.

New Food Train branch coming soon!

Food Train rolls into North Ayrshire this summer! We are delighted to bring our award winning and vital grocery delivery service to older people living in North Ayshire. We hope to be making our first shopping deliveries later in the autumn. A warm welcome to Regional Manager Marri Welsh and Administrator Clare Paterson who will be setting up the new Irvine based branch in July. 

North Ayrshire Map 2

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In the meantime, if anyone you know in North Ayrshire who will benefit from the service, or may be interested in volunteering with us and help get ready for the big launch, please contact Marri on 07712 322193 or email