Carntyne and Riddrie Credit Union’s community champion John Lyons shares his non-referral food bank

By Patrick Thorpe posted 10-05-2019 15:35:12


Carntyne and Riddrie Credit Union is breaking down barriers of how people across the city access food banks.

Eight years ago, General Manager of CRCU, John Lyons felt it his duty to help those communities who struggled to afford its basic needs of access to food.  He went onto form Glasgow’s first non-referral food bank.

John explains “We used to collect food and take it to a local food back and I dropped by to see how the process worked. It was then I learned that people needed a referral slip from their doctor or social services in order to receive food parcels. At one particular food back I saw every age group come and go, and they were absolutely horrified and ashamed to be there.”

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This incident was the catalyst for John forming Glasgow’s first non-referral food bank. By calling into Carntyne’s community centre, people in need can bypass stress of waiting for social services appointments and filling out multiple forms. John listens to people’s realistic dietary requirements and food bags are made on a bespoke basis with very little going to waste.

Growing a food donation network in the East End has been key to the development of John’s non-referral system. One of the many partners in that network is Susan Wilson, Community Champion at Tesco Parkhead.

Susan organises food drives within the store that supply donations of food, toiletries and furniture to families and homeless people in need. She says: “We have a lot of surplus food so we are able to work with John continuously in giving donations. We pass it on knowing that the food is being shared among people who need it most.” As a champion and credit to his community, John says: “It’s all about dignity and humanity, it’s simple as that.”

Source: Evening Times