Housing

Soup kitchen says it's feeding young children every night as cost of living crisis hits

Homeless Project Scotland, which was praised by Nicola Sturgeon for its outreach work, has shared shocking photos of youngsters at its Glasgow soup kitchen.

homeless project Scotland feed children in the cost of living crisis

Nicola Sturgeon has paid tribute to the work of Homeless Project Scotland after the group shared photos of children accessing its Glasgow soup kitchen, Image: Homeless Project Scotland

Frontline homelessness workers in Glasgow have warned the cost of living crisis is leading to “growing” numbers of children attending their soup kitchen.

Homeless Project Scotland (HPS) last week shared alarming photos of young children at the street kitchen it runs three nights a week in the Scottish city. Manager Colin McInnes said the photos show the need for the group to be given an indoor premises, as more families face rising costs and inflation pushing them further into poverty.

His calls were raised in Scottish parliament and backed by first minister Nicola Sturgeon, who praised the group for its ”important work”.

“The numbers of children and families at our Glasgow soup kitchen is growing. It is very sad to see any child hungry and needing to eat,” McInnes said.

“We are seeing this every night. Mums and dads don’t have the money to feed their kids. A woman came to our soup kitchen and told us that she has not turned her gas on for four years because she doesn’t have the money to turn it on.

“We need to have a building to bring these children indoors so they can eat indoors with dignity.”

Homeless Project Scotland soup kitchen shows cost of living crisis
Homeless Project Scotland is now looking for a building to ensure hungry children can access food indoors rather than on the street. Image: Homeless Project Scotland

The grassroots project has been calling on Glasgow City Council to help them source a building to provide their services in a safer environment.

The matter was raised in the Scottish parliament last week when Scottish Labour’s Glasgow MSP Pam Duncan-Glancy asked Sturgeon to intervene.

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Duncan-Glancy also told the first minister that housing charity Shelter had earlier warned MSPs at the Social Justice and Social Security Committee that the equivalent of a whole classroom of children will be made homeless every day in the next few months.

Sturgeon said in response: “I am happy to engage with the homeless project to see whether there is more that we, as a government, can do to help it find a building. The work that it does is extremely important. We all wish that it was not necessary, but I pay tribute to the project for its work.”

She added that those in power must “do everything that we can to help people suffering the cost of living crisis” but, while some benefits are devolved to Scottish authorities, she reiterated that independence was needed in Scotland to do more to tackle the crisis.

McInnes said HPS was “looking forward to working with the first minister and her office to find a suitable premises as a matter of the upmost urgency”.

“We want a building to be opened up as a 24-hour welfare centre,” added McInnes. “That means 24 hours a day people can come into that building, get some food, some welfare, sit and watch the telly, play cards. They don’t need to worry about putting the heating on because we’ll be turning ours on for them.”

A Glasgow City Council spokesperson said: “We are in discussions with City Property with regards to potential premises being identified and Homeless Project Scotland is fully aware of the progress and is in regular contact with officers.

“Homeless Project Scotland food provision attracts many vulnerable people, most of whom are experiencing financial hardship but are not homeless and we work closely with Police Scotland and other third sector partners to ensure any concerns are managed.”

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