THE people of East Renfrewshire have been praised for their support of a busy foodbank during the coronavirus outbreak.

Residents have continued to donate groceries to the Barrhead hub in large numbers throughout the last seven months of the pandemic.

Ken Trench, who is part of the East Renfrewshire Foodbank management team, was speaking following the opening of new premises in the town last week.

He says the lifeline service has only remained open throughout the various lockdowns and restrictions thanks to the generosity of local people.

The foodbank has now relocated to former East Renfrewshire Council offices at the junction of Bank Street and Lowndes Road, due to the redevelopment of its previous home at St Andrew’s Church, in the town’s Main Street.

Ken, who is a pastor at Barrhead’s Spirit of Life Church, says most of the people the foodbank helps have low income or are on benefits.

But he has also seen an increase in the number of self-employed people seeking support after a lack of work left them struggling to make ends meet.

They include the likes of tradesmen and construction workers who were laid off when building sites closed down.

Barrhead News: Ken Trench has thanked local residentsKen Trench has thanked local residents

Ken told the Barrhead News: “The response we have had from the people of East Renfrewshire has been phenomenal.

“I would also like to thank East Renfrewshire Council, who have been very supportive.

“Since the lockdown started, we have remained open throughout the whole period, thanks to our team of volunteers.

“People have continued to donate food to us in large numbers.

“There have also been various financial donations which has enabled us to buy foodstuffs which are in short supply or not readily available.

“Foodbanks are not just for people who are on benefits, as some might think. Many of the people come to us as they have lost their jobs and are having to wait weeks to see what government support they are going to get.

“In the meantime, they are left struggling to get by, pay their mortgage and feed their families.”

Before the lockdown was introduced in March, people using the foodbank had to be referred by organisations such as Citizens Advice.

However, they can now obtain food without a referral.

Demand for the service was already high before Covid-19 affected so many lives, with the UK Government’s decision to abolish a number of benefits and introduce the controversial Universal Credit system two years ago being highlighted as a major issue.

The foodbank team is keen to help as many people as possible, with Ken eager to stress that the service is for the needy across East Renfrewshire, not just those living in Barrhead.

Barrhead News: Agnes Brown sorts through donations of tinned goods in the foodbank’s new home at the corner of Bank Street and Lowndes StreetAgnes Brown sorts through donations of tinned goods in the foodbank’s new home at the corner of Bank Street and Lowndes Street

He added: “We do our best to make sure people get what they need.

“We’re also now able to cater for those with special dietary requirements, such as vegetarians.

“It’s not a case of people being handed a box of groceries and that’s it.”

The Barrhead outlet has been operating since 2013 and provides food to around 50 families a week, as well as individuals affected by food poverty.

It is part of the Trussell Trust charity, which supports a network of 1,200 foodbanks across the UK.

The new Bank Street hub is open on Tuesdays, from noon until 2pm, and on Fridays, from 2pm until 4pm.

The team aim to provide a four-day supply of nutritionally-balanced emergency food for people who are going hungry.

The Asda and Tesco stores in Barrhead have permanent collection baskets in place for any shoppers who would like to donate goods to the foodbank.

Donations can also be made at the Waitrose outlet in Newton Mearns.

One of the foodbank’s most high-profle supporters is football star Andy Robertson, who is a former pupil at St Ninian’s High School, in Giffnock.

The Scotland captain, who plays his club football for Liverpool, has donated cash to the worthy cause over the years.

Guests at his 21st birthday party in 2015 were asked to make a donation to the East Renfrewshire Foodbank, rather than bringing presents.

Barrhead News: Foodbank manager Stan EssonFoodbank manager Stan Esson

Councillor Danny Devlin, who represents Barrhead, Liboside and Uplawmoor as an Independent, is delighted to see the local authority’s old premises in Bank Street being put to good use.

He said: “The East Renfrewshire Foodbank provides a vital service in Barrhead. 

“It offers a lifeline to residents across East Renfrewshire each week,.

“I am really pleased that East Renfrewshire Council was able to co-locate services and find an appropriate office space for the foodbank during what continues to be an incredibly difficult time for everyone.”

For more information about the help available at the foodbank, or if you would like to offer your support, send an email to

You can find out more about the work done by the Trussell Trust by visiting