A FORMER nurse in Clacks is this week championing the "huge difference" volunteering makes to people's lives.

Carol Young, a mother-of-two from Sauchie, is one of a band of volunteers recently joining Clackmannanshire Food Train, ensuring older people do not go without critical shopping supplies.

Each week, she spends a couple of hours to gather groceries at Asda Alloa for people supported by the charity.

The team has been meeting continued high demand in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and Carol is speaking about her experiences as part of Volunteers' Week.

The 57-year-old, who began volunteering in retirement, said: "Food Train is a well-oiled machine and it's great working as part of a team.

"You build great relationships.

"Sometimes when I'm shopping I try to build a picture in my mind of what the customer's like from what they have in their trolley.

"When I was volunteering with Connects, I really got to know the lady I was shopping for – and got to meet some of her family too.

"I felt as though I was drawing on my nursing to help where required as well.

"After 30-plus years, helping to care for people is in your blood."

Carol also gives up her time to support Greyhound Rescue Fife on top of her support for Clacks Food Train.

Urging people to get involved with good causes, she said: "When you're wearing your red Food Train Shirt or ID badge, people ask about volunteering – and my advice is 'if you're thinking about it, do it – a little bit of time can make a huge difference'.

"Not only are you doing something which helps someone else, but it lifts your own spirits too.

"You feel as though you're doing something worthwhile.

"I also think it's good for my teenage children to see their parents volunteer.

"It's a good trait to be nice and helpful."

As part of Volunteers' Week, Food Train has sent its thanks to all who give up their time to help ensure older people can eat and live well in their own homes.

Stuart Miller, the charity's regional manager for Clacks and Stirling, said: "We're blessed with a brilliant team of volunteers without whom we wouldn't be able to do what we do.

"Week in, week out their support improves the lives of older people across our area. The simple acts of shopping, delivering and spending a little time talking to our customers makes a powerful difference.

"Our heartfelt thanks – and that of our customers – goes to each and every one of our volunteers for their time and commitment."

People can contact shopping@thefoodtrain.co.uk or call 01786 450 536 to hear how the charity can help them or a person they know.

Those inspired to volunteer can visit thefoodtrain.co.uk for more details.