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New role at Inchgarth foodbank in Aberdeen aims increase reach to fight cost of living crisis

Reverend Keith Blackwood, Victoria Alexander and Paul O'Conner. Picture supplied by the Presbytery of Aberdeen and Shetland.
Reverend Keith Blackwood, Victoria Alexander and Paul O'Conner. Picture supplied by the Presbytery of Aberdeen and Shetland.

Inchgarth Community Centre and Mannofield Parish Church in Aberdeen have entered into a new partnership by employing a foodbank and support project coordinator thanks to funding from the kirk’s congregation.

The new post has been filled by Victoria Alexander, who took up the role on August 1, and will be managed by the centre’s manager, Paul O’Conner.

Recently, Mrs Alexander worked as a support worker for people with additional support needs and this brought her into Inchgarth Community Centre.

Victoria Alexander took on her new role on August 1. Picture supplied by the Presbytery of Aberdeen and Shetland

She said: “I’ve always felt that I could go up and speak to people and found the volunteers at Inchgarth Community Centre really nice and providing such an inclusive approach to people I brought into the free classes offered. It was then I saw the advert for this post and thought ‘I could go for that.'”

The full-time post, which will last for two years, will help to enhance the existing foodbank service at the community centre, which has been running for the past decade and is open every Wednesday.

There are plans to roll out numerous services to help people impacted by the cost of living crisis, with Mrs Alexander already making contacts and networking with many different organisations and services.

Work will also begin to create new initiatives that will provide support to those most in need across the south of Aberdeen.

Foodbank usage can rise by up to 150 during term time

At the present time, about 50 people use Inchgarth’s foodbank each week, with this number rising to 100-150 during term time.

As well as receiving official referrals to the foodbank, people can come along themselves and all that is required for identification is their name, address and if claiming for children some evidence is required.

Mr O’Conner said: “We have never done this before and were not sure how it would really work but without the generosity of the church this project would not have proceeded.

‘We are hugely grateful and excited’

“We are hugely grateful and excited because going forward we will be able to create numerous levels of support at the right time and cannot thank Mannofield Church enough for their support.

“We are now thinking that perhaps there are partnerships out there with other organisations like the church that we could bring on board.”

Mannofield Parish Church minister, Reverend Keith Blackwood added: “We see it as the mission of our church and found ourselves in a position of being able to look for a project to be involved in that would enable us to provide defined support to people in need. We are delighted to partner with Inchgarth in this project.

The Press and Journal is working to support communities across the north-east and north of Scotland through its Big Food Appeal.

We want to help break down the stigma around foodbanks, and make it clear who can use them – the simple answer is, anyone who needs one.

We are also signposting people to their nearest foodbanks, and the various help that is available during the holidays.

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