Cupar’s Foodbank Update

Cupar’s Foodbank continues to deliver amazing support to help some of the most vulnerable across our community – covering an area that surprises many who don’t know the full extent of the charity’s work. We caught up with Steve Blake, manager of the Foodbank to discover more …

Figures just published for the last financial year – April 2023 through until March of this year – show that Cupar’s Foodbank has had another busy year. Steve explains: “We have helped to distribute more than 800 emergency food parcels during the last 12 months, working in support of multiple agencies.

Steve adds: “This has helped to provide food and emergency supplies for over 1,700 people and we owe a huge ‘thank you’ to all of our supporters who enable this essential work.

Those 1,700+ people are not just in and around Cupar – but across the whole of North East Fife.

Steve says: “I think many believe that our operation just covers Cupar and the town’s immediate catchment, but our team reaches out to help those in need in towns and villages right across the area – from Gateside and Newburgh in the west to Newport and Tayport in the north east, across to Leuchars and St Andrews as well as communities along the East Neuk. It is a huge area and we couldn’t deliver the services we provide without the enormous generosity of those who donate so much on such a regular basis.

Financial inclusion …

Steve has taken over as manager from Joe Preece who ran the Foodbank for five years. Steve says: “We owe a huge debt to Joe and also to Jackie Black and the dedicated team of volunteers. Joe made such a significant contribution – helping those in need within our community – and rightly gained huge respect from many people within Cupar and the surrounding area.

And it was one of Joe’s initiatives that Steve attributes to the Foodbank seeing a slight decrease in food parcel distribution on the previous 12 months. He explains: “In Joe’s last year, he won funding to implement Financial Inclusion support for those visiting the Foodbank. The project is run in conjunction with Citizen’s Advice and our clients are provided with specialist financial advice and support designed to help them move away from the need for emergency food support. That is part of Joe’s legacy and has been such a great help to those who have made use of the service.

Paul Rooney is the Foodbank’s Financial Inclusion Advisor and has been in place since the end of last July. Paul works from the Foodbank on a Friday (from 10am to 6pm) providing free advice to those who have been referred for help. So far, he has helped to share much-needed advice on Universal Credit, Adult Disability Payments, Attendance Allowance, Council-Tax reduction, Blue Badges, Employment Support Allowance as well as Housing Benefit. In addition, Paul has advised clients on all manner of smaller but none the less important miscellaneous items – from opening bank accounts to dealing with rent arrears.

The assistance has varied: several clients presented with concerns about benefit sanctions or the cessation of benefits impacting on their income. Paul has challenged and been successful in some cases ensuring the return of income to previous levels and, it is hoped, negating the need for future Foodbank dependency.

All the clients who have been assisted in applying for benefits have also been made aware that Citizen’s Advice can support them with appeals and tribunals in the event that they are unsuccessful. For every client, the Foodbank endeavours to build relationships, encouraging all to feel free to make contact again.

Steve adds: “Everybody at the Foodbank wishes Joe well. We’d like to use this opportunity to say a very public ‘thank you’ for all of his efforts and contribution – and we look forward to him popping in for a coffee to ensure that all is still in good order!

The Foodbank’s new team – led by Steve and Julie McLay – look forward to carrying on Joe’s legacy, with the continued support of the Foodbank volunteer team and the incredible generosity of the Cupar community.

Donate …

Please continue to donate where you can.

There are collection baskets in all the town’s supermarkets as well as at Nationwide on Crossgate.

If you run a business or organisation in town and would like to set up a ‘collection point’ in support of the Foodbank, please get in touch with Steve via this email link.

Click on the section below to discover more ways to support this local charity.


Need more?

You can follow the Foodbank via their Facebook page and find more information on their website via this link.


Thanks for reading.