A CHARITY which has helped older people in Stirling on thousands of occasions is this week marking a major milestone.

The Food Train, the local branch of which has made almost 35,000 deliveries, has celebrated its 25th birthday on Monday, June 29.

Volunteers dedicated to supporting people aged 65 and over made their first five deliveries of groceries in Dumfries, where the Food Train was founded, all those years ago.

Meanwhile, the Stirling branch has been running since 2011 and expanded to cover Clackmannanshire as well.

Michelle Carruthers, chief executive at the Food Train, said: “If older people aren’t eating well, they’re not living well.

“If they’re not living well, then their health deteriorates.

“It’s that simple.

“By getting groceries to them, we help them to eat better, live better and improve the general health of the areas in which we operate.

“The certainty of knowing someone you trust is going to bring your food every week has a positive impact on people’s lives.”

However, the food is about much more than just shopping, it is also about social interaction – explained the chief executive.

She added: “We’re here to talk to those we support, to make sure they are cared for and help in any way that we can.

“Everyone connected with Food Train can be proud of our achievements.

“I would like to thank our staff, volunteers and supporters across Stirling and Clackmannanshire for all that they do and the positive difference they make to older peoples’ lives.

“Our work has never been needed more.”

The Food Train has come a long way since starting two-and-a-half decades ago, its network now stretching across nine regions of Scotland and with more than 445,000 deliveries made nationally.

The coronavirus pandemic has seen a 63 per cent rise in demand for grocery deliveries across the country with 3,100 people supported, up from just under 2,000 prior to the crisis.

Click here for more details, to become a volunteer or to see how the charity can help people.