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Colleges across north join forces to support food banks during virus lockdown

Theresa Bain, pictured right, delivers food to Hope Kitchen in Oban.
Theresa Bain, pictured right, delivers food to Hope Kitchen in Oban.

Universities and colleges across the north have joined forces to boost food bank stocks with unused produce from their canteens.

All UHI campuses have shut their doors to staff and students to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The move has left sites with unused items that had been intended to be served up – including fruit, vegetables, pasta, milk, bread and eggs.

To ensure the food does not go to waste, staff have chosen to donate it to local food banks, with groups in Elgin, Inverness, Oban, Orkney, Fort William and Perth all benefiting.

Theresa Bain, learning centre manager at Argyll College UHI in Oban, said: “We have a practical teaching kitchen on site which doubles as a staff and student canteen.

“We had a lot of food in reserve for future cooking and our principal, Martin Jones, was keen to donate our reserves to a local food bank.

“I took the goods to Hope Kitchen, a well-known charitable organisation in Oban which provides hot meals and food parcels for people on low income or who need a bit of company.”

Items supplied by the Oban college to the kitchen included cereals, lentils, sugar, coffee pasta, tea bags and orange juice.

Food banks across the UK have been pushed to the limit during the coronavirus outbreak, with many vulnerable residents no longer being able to go outdoors to bring in supplies.

Shortages in supermarkets and convenience stores have also made it difficult for charities to source some items to make up food parcels.

Mrs Bain added: “The charity was extremely grateful for the help.

“They were particularly pleased to get pasta, as there was none to be had in Oban, and yeast sachets as they could use them to bake their own bread.”

While UHI campuses remain closed, staff have been continuing to provide services online.

Further and higher education programmes are being taught remotely with staff from Perth College UHI running daily fitness classes on social media.

The university has also been supporting the NHS by contributing scientific expertise, laboratory facilities and teaching equipment.

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