EAST Renfrewshire’s foodbank has been granted permission for a licence to operate from underused council offices in Barrhead, writes Drew Sandelands

The three-year, rent-free deal was approved by city chiefs as the foodbank’s current home – the former St Andrew’s Parish Church – is to due to be redeveloped.

After foodbank bosses approached East Renfrewshire Council to seek accommodation in Barrhead, ground-floor offices in Lowndes Street were identified.

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Staff from Work East Ren – the council’s employability service – will move into the upper floor of the building.

“This will give a synergy of use and provide a one-stop shop for clients,” a report to councillors stated.

“This one-stop approach will positively contribute to mitigating the causes of social exclusion and poverty, including child poverty, and will enhance those employability and support services currently being delivered in the area and in particular the new poverty and social inclusion programme which is part financed by the European Social Fund and the council.

“The use of this property to provide a location for the East Renfrewshire foodbank will provide much-needed assistance for families currently in food poverty, whilst repurposing an underused building and co-locating appropriate services.”

Staff and volunteers at East Renfrewshire Foodbank, including manager Stan Esson, have been hailed for providing a lifeline service for people across the Barrhead area.

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The facility is open two days per week and has been running for more than five years under the umbrella organisation of the Trussell Trust.

It helps around 45 families per week across the whole council area.

Councillors approved the plan, which will see its director of environment consulting with the chief officer (legal and procurement) to finalise negotiations with the foodbank.

The council has confirmed it will continue to cover the costs of maintenance of the property.