SHETLAND Foodbank is raising money to improve its service through the “bags of help” scheme run by supermarket Tesco at its Lerwick store.
The foodbank, under the auspices of the Trussell Trust, has seen a huge increase in demand for food parcels amid public spending austerity, wage freezes and benefits cuts in recent years.
Shoppers can donate tokens handed out at the checkout to any of three causes. Shetland Foodbank said its funding would be used to lay flooring, redecorate and buy furniture required to create a “friendly, comfortable and relaxing space where we can meet with foodbank clients”.
Figures published in November showed an alarming 43 per cent year-on-year increase in the number of emergency food parcels being distributed in Shetland.
Foodbank volunteer manager David Grieve said at the time that there was a “wide range” of reasons why folk were seeking help, but often clients had waited six weeks or more to receive their first payment of a different kind of benefits, while others had their benefits stopped while they were reassessed.
Meanwhile, campaigners for isles autonomy Wir Shetland have donated £300 to the foodbank.
Its spokeswoman Andrea Manson said it was “disgraceful that food banks are needed anywhere in this country let alone in an area such as Shetland” and that “many Shetlanders obviously do not feel the benefit of the vast amounts of natural resources located on their doorstep”.
Manson said that islanders “need higher incomes and/or lower taxes to offset the well documented higher costs of living in these island”.
An autonomous Shetland government would have “the revenue, the industry, and the freedom to make Shetland a society for others to aspire to”, she added.