Food Bank Campaign: Glasgow families use camping stoves to cut fuel bills

HARD-up Glasgow families are putting their lives at risk by using camping stoves in their home to cut down on fuel bills.

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Oonagh Brown is co-ordinating the food bank in Drumchapel, which is helping hungry people and their families Picture:  Mark Mainz
Oonagh Brown is co-ordinating the food bank in Drumchapel, which is helping hungry people and their families Picture: Mark Mainz

Drumchapel Food Bank, which handed out more than 90 food parcels to starving families in two months is now trying to tackle fuel poverty.

The food bank was launched in April to feed people who cannot ­afford to buy meals in the area.

But organisers say they are now looking at ways to combat fuel poverty because some families cannot afford to heat the meals they gave them.

It came after some people told them they were using a camping stove indoors to cook food to try and cut down on bills.

Since the food bank - based at the Phoenix Centre in Monymusk Place - opened its doors it has worked with 54 hungry individuals and families, and provided emergency aid to 25 people.

It is run by the Kings- ridge Economic Development Group in partnership with Drumchapel L.I.F.E and is funded by the Big Lottery Fund.

Liz Atkinson, manager of Kingsridge group, said: "People can't heat the food because they can't afford to pay their electricity or gas bills.

"It is getting more and more difficult for people to get access to the Welfare Fund so we are looking at ways that people can get their utility cards topped up."

Kenny Macdonald, manager of Drumchapel L.I.F.E, added: "That could be in the form of emergency top-up.

"We would need to raise money for that but it is something we are coming across more and more and we are trying to see how we can help."

Volunteer Karen Carruth, from Drumchapel, said: "I have had people telling me they are using a camping stove in their kitchen to make food - that's just an explosion waiting to happen."

The food bank is being led by development worker Oonagh Brown. It takes place every Tuesday from 2-5pm, ­although emergency appointments are available outwith these hours.

Ms Brown said: "People come to the food bank when they are in ­crisis. The main reason we find is because of sanctions on their welfare payments, but there are loads of different reasons.

"We had a woman who had her purse stolen and had no other way of getting food."

The group said loan sharks and pay day lenders were also contributing factors to food poverty.

As well as giving people a seven-day food parcel, the group directs users to other organisations that provide money advice and counselling.

The group is supporting the Evening Times Food For Thought Campaign, which is aiming for a more co-ordinated approach to the system to make sure nobody goes hungry.

A Scottish Fire and Rescue spokesman issued a warning about using camping stoves. He said: "People should never use them or other fuel-burning devices indoors.

"These are designed to be used in the open air - using them inside risks causing a fire, an explosion, a gas leak or carbon monoxide poisoning.

"Anyone cooking with a camping stove indoors puts themselves and others in danger. We urge people to only use them outside and away from potential sources of ignition."

To donate food, visit Sainsbury's Superstore, 10 ­Allerdyce Place, Drumchapel. For more information, call Oonagh on 07974 531252 or e-mail :oonagh atkcedg@hotmail.com

rachel.loxton@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Food and drink

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