Because of the long gap since the last Newsletter – and there is so much to update you on – this newsletter is much longer than normal.
- Introduction; –
….to the new Manager, Fiona Dalgleish. Fiona comes most recently from running her own business, Hillside Outside, event organisers responsible for Tweedlove and Tour o the Borders. Before that she held management positions at some of Scotland’s biggest events, including the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, Assembly Theatre and T in the Park. She has lived in Peebles for 14 years and has three children at local schools. She’s absolutely delighted to join the team!
- Francis Mordaunt – Foodbank – Manager and Treasurer.
You will all know by now that Francis retired as Manager and Treasurer in December 2020 – handing the reigns to Fiona Dalgleish and Ed Molyneaux, respectively. Francis took over from Jim Benton-Evans, founder of the Peeblesshire Foodbank in 2016/17. This was a time of increased demand and Francis rose to the challenge with his customary enthusiasm. More volunteers were recruited – new roles were established and regular teams formed. Along with James Adams – one of the original stalwarts – he established four teams led by team leaders who oversaw the shifts, took referrals and delivered food boxes. Francis was also Treasurer and sat on the Board of Trustees. Under his stewardship – and ably supported by that Fundraiser Extraordinaire, Nancy Fenton – the foodbank funds grew. This made it possible, among other things, to give clients vouchers to buy fresh produce from the local shops. And some necessary extras for the storeroom. When the pandemic hit, Francis was involved in the move from the cramped premises in Cavalry Park to the Neighbourhood Centre. Service to the community was never interrupted.
A ‘hands-on’ manager, Francis was always ready to muck in stacking shelves or delivering boxes. He also raised the profile of the foodbank in the community – giving talks to local groups and contributing articles to the local newspapers. Thanks to his dedication and hard work the foodbank is highly regarded in the community. Francis laid the foundations without which the current developments would not be possible. He has left the foodbank ready to meet the huge challenges facing our community today.
Sadly, any plans to show appreciation for Francis’ achievements in a more concrete form were scuppered – like so many things – by Coronavirus. No possibility of having a ‘Bit of a Do’ where Francis could be formally thanked in public. However, at the Trustees’ Meeting in December, Stuart Bell gave a fulsome speech, thanking Francis for his achievements and his dedicated service to the community. But sometimes words – and even a ‘Bit of a Do’ – can never adequately give credit to how one man’s selfless commitment to the community in which he lives changes lives.
On a positive note, however – Francis isn’t going far – as he plans to stay on as a Trustee and volunteer.
Update on Volunteer Situation:
As you all know Covid 19 has played havoc with everything! Some volunteers have left. Thanks to Jenny Noble for her hard work. Others are temporarily standing down – James Adams, Tom Hardie, Finlay Macdonald, Eileen Fletcher, Evelyn Lee, Bill Fenton – apologies if I’ve left anyone off this list. Very much hoping you’ll all be back. There has been an influx of volunteers who are currently on furlough. In total there are 27 volunteers on the list. Four team leaders – Kerry Dennis, George Blair, Ian Buckingham and Ian McMillan. A team of dedicated drivers – Elodie Sellar, Tom Hudson, Simon Ritchie, Sally Wild and Bill Jacobs. David Farmer continues his pick-ups from the supermarkets. And Marcus Russell is still involved in the webpage. As we all know, demand for the foodbank services is growing and is not expected to drop any time soon – so your time and commitment is invaluable – and always so greatly appreciated.
Demand and Deliveries:
January has been the busiest month in the history of the foodbank. Numbers Fed: 91 adults and 45 children. This is the equivalent of 1,224 meals. Family pets: 21 dogs, 19 cats and one rabbit. The warehouse is currently well-stocked but referrals are increasing.
Since starting work on the 6th January so much has been done that it’s easier to put this under brief headings. The Move – to the spacious new premises in Cavalry Park at the beginning of January was executed by a crew of 30 – transporting around 5 tonnes of stock. Domestic stuff: as with moving into any new premises there was the time-consuming business of connecting electricity, gas, phone-line. The office has been kitted out at minimal cost – with generous donations of decent furniture, including a sofa for the meeting room. Bins and recycling have been arranged via SBC. So, we are just about settled in and developing a homely atmosphere. Fundraising: We have received from SBC an ipad for the duty team leader. This makes their task in the warehouse much easier and quicker. A request has also been made to SBC for a desk-top computer. Considerable work has been done to access new sources of funding – including setting up a Justgiving page; an application for a Facebook donation button has been made; funding streams via trusts have been identified and will be followed up. Publicity/Marketing; an Instagram account has been set up and there are regular social media posts. Policies: policies have been drawn up and submitted for consideration. Networking: Contact has been made with Gorebridge and West Lothian foodbanks; there has been communication with Peeblesshire Youth Trust/Walkerburn Sharing Shed,Walkerburn Food Hugs,CAB and the Food Foundation. Referrals: Local schools have been contacted reminding them that they can refer families in need at this time of home-schooling. Whatsapp referrals are now available via CAB. Work to contact other referral agencies is ongoing. There is still much to be done – but we are on track to meet the demands of the current difficult circumstances.
And without all of you all of this would not be possible. What a Team!