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Highland MSPs collect over a tonne of donations for foodbanks


By Tom Ramage


Two Highland MSPs have collected over a tonne of donations for their local food bank over the past year, according to new figures from Blythswood Care.

In 2019 the office of Kate Forbes and Maree Todd, which is located prominently on Dingwall’s High Street, has received donations of 1.2 tonnes for the Highland food bank network thanks to big-hearted constituents dropping off items every week.

Kate and Maree with Finlay MacKenzie of Blythswood outside of the constituency office
Kate and Maree with Finlay MacKenzie of Blythswood outside of the constituency office

The pair became a collection point for food bank donations in August 2018, in response to news at that time that stores of emergency food parcels for the Highlands were at their lowest levels for a decade.

Ms Forbes, constituency MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, said: “Maree and I started the collection point at our Dingwall office about 18 months ago in response to the local plea for food bank donations, and we have been overwhelmed by the response.

“We have had people popping in literally every week with items, and we only reached this one tonne figure because of the kindness of Highland people.

“What is deeply concerning, however, is that so many people, especially families with children, are dependent on food banks.

“Changes by the UK Government to the welfare system have hit the poorest the hardest. The Scottish Government has spent millions of pounds, and will do so again this coming year, mitigating some of the worst impacts of welfare reform.”

Maree Todd, list MSP for the Highlands and Islands, added: “It’s fantastic to see the widespread generosity of the local community who have helped us collect an incredible 1.2 tonnes of food for the Highland food bank.

“Whilst food banks provide support to those who so desperately need it, they only work as a short-term solution. The rising use of food banks in Scotland – and throughout the UK – is indicative of an inadequate benefit system which only works to push the most vulnerable further into poverty.

“From Universal Credit to the bedroom tax, Tory welfare reform has played a key role in the dramatic increase of food bank use and poverty in the UK.”

Blythswood Care’s Head of Projects, Finlay Mackenzie, said “We are extremely grateful to Kate Forbes and Maree Todd for the weekly collections for our food banks at their office.

“The staggering contribution of 1.2 tonnes of food in 2019 has been a real benefit in helping to feed local people in times of crisis.”



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