Inverness Foodstuff was set up in May 2014 by a group of interested people from local churches and community in an attempt to address the problem of homelessness, food poverty, social isolation and food waste. The group prepared a Development Plan and Constitution which was submitted to OSCR (Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator) in September of that year and on 10 November we were given charitable status.
At the beginning only Swanson's and Booker's provided fruit and vegetables for us but since then Morrison's, Tesco, Marks and Spencer and Lidl have come on board and provide fruit and vegetables which are past their 'best by' date but not past their 'sell by' date. Harry Gow Bakeries provide eight loaves of bread each week.
This wonderful donation of food has enabled us to operate a Drop-in Centre on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1pm - 3.30pm at Ness Bank Church Hall. Using the modern and excellent facilities in the kitchen a team of five volunteers led by a Lead Cook prepare and cook a three course vegetarian meal. Another team of volunteers led by the Front of House Team Leader is responsible for setting-up the café in the adjacent hall where volunteers serve food, snacks, tea and coffee. Since January 2018 the Drop-in Centre has opened on Saturdays from 2pm - 4.30pm when soup and sandwiches are available During the period between February 2015 and May 2018 we have provided a total number of 7836 meals.
At all sessions digital access is available and training and assistance can be provided to those requiring help with completion of forms, updating CVs, and email access.
All volunteers are encouraged to spend as much time as possible with the participants, to chat to them and to listen. If a participant is in need of advice the Team Leader will assist with this using a signposting folder which can often identify where they can get assistance. IF is also an agency for Highland Foodbank and can provide foodbank vouchers for those who qualify for an emergency supply of food.
On a monthly basis we have support from the Highland Council Benefits Team, the NHS Dental Team, and the NHS Harm Reduction Team who provide a wonderful service to our participants. On a weekly basis we have support from the Nurse Practitioner for the Homeless and from the Community Nursing Staff. Every week we are grateful to receive two bags of clothes from Oxfam.
In addition, hairdressing students and lecturers from the University of the Highlands and Islands attend the Thursday session once a month and provide free hairdressing services to our participants.
A further aim of the project is to enable those in need to access the right support and we are able to do this through the partnerships IF have built up.
We have over 80 volunteers from all walks of life, some of whom have church connections and some who do not, and they all provide wonderful support to the project. In June 2017 a Volunteer Manager was employed to manage the volunteers, to compile the various rotas in operation, and to ensure that the volunteers receive appropriate training. Sixteen volunteers are members and friends of Ness Bank.
In May Inverness Foodstuff was selected to be a finalist in the Scottish Charity Awards 2018 and four of the Trustees attended the Awards Ceremony in Edinburgh on 14 June. Our charity was one of five included in the 'Celebrating Communities' category and although we did not win an award we were delighted to be a finalist and receive a framed certificate.
The Board consists of eight Trustees; the Chairperson is our Minister and the Treasurer is Bob Glover (who is also the Ness Bank Finance Team Leader).
We have many tasks carried out by our volunteers such as:
Selection and collection of food at supermarkets
Weekly provisions check
Weekly collection of clothes from Oxfam
and we would welcome anyone who would be willing to help.
For more information please contact IF’s Operation’s Manager June Macleod on
June Macleod email@example.com