Despite widespread reports of rising foodbank use, a Barrhead service has seen its numbers drop since a “lifeline” bus service was axed earlier this year.

Dunterlie Foodshare (DF), which runs on Fridays from 11.30am to 12.30pm at Dunterlie Resource Centre, has noticed a worrying trend following the end of the 52 circular bus service on April 29.

The organisation, which provides a bag of fruit and vegetables and a bag of other shopping to those coming along, previously welcomed 30 to 32 people per week.

Now, however, with travel to and from the centre more difficult, its numbers are down to just 25 or 26 people.

Rena McGuire BEM, the founder of DF, told the Barrhead News: “We’re running with less numbers which we’re putting down to the bus.

“It’s been like that since it went off, so it’s very difficult.

“People could walk down but they can’t get back with two bags because the bags can be heavy. There are certain age groups who can’t hack that.

“It’s an absolute shame.”

The 52, which ran for more than 20 years and made 16 stops in the town, was lost despite a passionate campaign spearheaded by Rena.

Previously explaining the end of the service, bus operator McGill’s said the pandemic had resulted in changes to how and when people travel and, more recently, like the wider economy and population at large it had been hit by inflationary pressures, such as fuel, energy, materials and wage costs.

Given the increased costs, this meant they needed “to make some changes to routes and timetables - both to reflect current demand, and to ensure the future viability” of their networks.

Witnessing the devastating impact this has had over the last few months, Rena refuses to give up on pushing for a replacement service.

Her concerns about lower numbers at the foodshare are particularly concerning in the wake of recent statistics which showed rising demand at similar services in East Renfrewshire.

Indeed, last month, The Trussell Trust’s (TT) mid-year statistics revealed that between April and September this year 4,516 parcels were distributed among its two locations in the local authority, including East Renfrewshire Foodbank on Lowndes Street in Barrhead.

A total of 1,536 of these were allocated to children and 2,980 were given to adults.

This reflects a significant increase from the same period in 2022 in which 2,824 parcels were distributed in total, with 999 going to children and 1,825 to adults.

With so many out there who currently need a helping hand, Rena and the foodshare are trying to help in as many ways as they can despite challenges posed by a lack of public transport.

“We get a mix of people – families and older,” added Rena. “We get single people, new people who have moved into the area and we have people who work.

“We look for a minimum of three meals in each bag. We also get money for vouchers which we give out as and when required.

“Social Security Scotland attends every two weeks. The Citizens Advice Bureau attends every week, we get Street League in, anti-smoking and we get SP Energy (networks).

“So have got a good variety of agencies coming in for the benefit of the people who use the service, but they are not just there for those who use the foodshare, they are there for anybody who needs them.

“Sometimes Work EastRen bring their appointments down here on a Friday morning as well, so yes we are quite a hive of busyness within the centre but unfortunately the amount of people coming for the food is down.”