Churches join up to Duns based food bank

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A district-wide food bank pooling the efforts of several churches is bringing relief to residents who struggle to make ends meet.

And despite good results since starting the Duns-based bank in December, organisers fear changes to welfare payments in April will only highlight the need for such a scheme.

Volunteer Sheila Sim said: “It’s something we thought about for a while, and we only expect demand to increase with changes to benefit payments.

“We’ve sent out boxes to 13 households so far, based on referrals we’ve received.

“The boxes are packed with foods that can be stored easily, and topped up with fresh bread, milk and things.”

Retired teacher Charles Swan, of Duns, explained further: “All our parcels are allocated by referral from agencies like Berwickshire Housing Association, SSAFA (the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association), the Eyemouth Family Centre and Scottish mental health charity Penumbra.

“There is no self referral, but our forms allow us to provide a food box tailored to the household we’re helping, because we’re looking into giving nappies and baby food as well.”

Various district churches are part of the scheme, including St Ebbas in Eyemouth and Southview Evangelical Church in Chirnside, while St Andrews in Berwick and the episcopal church in Coldstream are also involved in similar food banks.

Stephen Blakey, Minister of Duns Parish Church, urged people to donate or help in any way they can. Duns Parish Church is open each Friday to accept food parcels, while monetary donations also go towards making up a parcel that could make all the difference to a struggling household.

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