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Tales from the Food Bank: we're a bit battered but not past it

I have been mildly castigated for calling Blawarthill Church of Scotland premises tatty, but even the most loyal parishioner would be pushed to call it smart, cutting-edge architecture.

Despite the warm heart that beats within it's a bit worn - a relic of I would guess the sixties for the most part. In fact, just give it specs and a big nose, and it could be my twin.

The food bank it houses is just one sign of the church's real vitality, but it too suffers from defects in the accommodation, with the place being too chilly to have a reception desk by the door, and the decor and fittings being - well, again, just like me, in need of a facelift.

People queue in the corridor and there's a (quite smart) cafe area beyond. The main space is a large room which was part divided by a masonry wall, leaving a vague ill-defined zone for the delivery of donations, and little wall-space for the shelving where food is stored.

Now, however, a bit of wooden studding and plasterboard and a doorway have transformed things, dividing the place properly so we can have a back room where we troglodytes can toil, and a separate interview area where clients can come in, chat to volunteers and have their referral form checked, the key to getting a food parcel. The interview area has some smart new desks too.

The building may have seen better days - oh yes, the amusing parallels go on - but it is vital to make the users' visits here a pleasant, welcoming experience. Manager Gill is laughing about how to decorate the new walls, joking about her inner interior designer coming out.

It might seem just a joke when the priority is feeding folk, but consider this: it's bad enough finding yourself in the kind of difficulty which means a visit to the food bank, without being confronted with the idea that no-one cares enough about you to make the place look half-decent.

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Food and drink

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