Food Train appoints Eco Group to create charity’s first home of its own

Eco Group managing director Eddie Black, front left, and Food Train chief executive Michelle Carruthers, on-site at English Street, Dumfries, with Eco Projects team members Gavin Miller, Christopher McGarva , project manager Ryan Fieldston and Lewis Devlin

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OLDER people’s charity Food Train has appointed solutions specialists Eco Group to deliver its first purpose-created headquarters.

Work started this week on the transformation of a former council office in Dumfries into a base for the organisation’s work nationally, as well as a community hub.

It’s a project that both the town-founded charity and its contractors – themselves headquartered less than 20 miles away in Annan – hope will help improve the lives of older people. 

Food Train chief executive Michelle Carruthers said: “We’re delighted to have work underway – and to have appointed Eco Group, who share our vision to ensure we have the best facilities to make a positive difference to the lives of the over-65s.

“The project really is evolving into a triple win locally – for our charity in its long-held hope for a home of its own, for the community by turning a building which has been empty for some time into a great new asset and for the area’s economy by bringing in local workers to deliver it.

“Beyond that, our new headquarters will be the hub for our mission nationally to ensure older people can eat well and live well in their own homes, helping to meet the record demand we have faced since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Eco will carry out the work through its Eco Projects design, build and fit out division. It will also use local sub-contractors.

Managing director Eddie Black said: “It’s a privilege to be involved in delivering this fantastic project for Food Train.

“The charity’s work makes a huge difference to the lives of older people in Dumfries and Galloway and beyond, and the new HQ will put it in an even better position to help those most in need.

“As a company we’re committed to creating a vibrant and thriving economy for Dumfries and Galloway, and the Food Train project is a great example of what can be achieved with vision and determination.” 

The creation of a centre for older people was one of the ambitions of Food Train’s founders as they launched a shopping delivery service for those aged 65 and over in Dumfries in 1995. The charity has since expanded to offer a range of services to ensure older people can eat well and live well in their own homes.

It secured the English Street building with support from Dumfries and Galloway Council.

Once open, plans are for the centre to be a hub for advice and activities for older people, as well as a venue for Food Train’s befriending groups, widely recognised for their valuable role in tackling loneliness among older people.

It will also provide office and meeting space for community groups and other organisations.

As well as being the central hub for its work in Dumfries and Galloway the new HQ will provide support for Food Train’s shopping service operations in nine other Scottish local authority regions. That’s on top of supporting its Connects, Meal Makers and Eat Well Age Well projects nationally.

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