Exclusive: foodbank wars erupt in Glasgow

Needy cropped

Two of the city's most prominent foodbank organisers accuse each other of abusive, threatening behaviour 

5th November 2014 by Robert Armour 8 Comments

A foodbank war is being waged in Glasgow the likes of which would rival the city’s notorious Ice Cream Wars in the 1980s, it has been claimed.  

Two of the city’s most prominent foodbanks, Glasgow’s Needy and Greater Maryhill Foodbank, are accusing each other of “criminal” and threatening behaviour, despite both working to help some of the city's most vulnerable families.

Glasgow’s Needy founders Darren Carnegie (pictured below) and his dad Andrew say they’ve received death threats, verbal abuse and harassment in the street and at home because of the anti-poverty group’s massive popularity on the back of the referendum campaign.

And the group claims some of that harassment has come from one of the country’s biggest foodbanks – Greater Maryhill – an allegation that charity firmly refutes.

Darren Carnegie explained: “It’s absolutely vile. We’ve become victims of our own success but we weren’t prepared for the fallout from jealous, ego-driven people who purport to be charitable.

“I’ve had notes put through my letterbox saying I’m going to be killed, I’ve had people phoning me up swearing down the phone, accusing me of fraud and operating a sham charity.

"It's like a foodbank industry has been created where people get threatened because you're on their patch.

"That's what happened with the Ice Cream Wars and it looks like it's happening again." 

Carnegie said he has also been subjected to “abusive and threatening tirades” from Greater Maryhill Foodbank’s founder Julie Webster (pictured above) – saying that the charity was deliberately trying to discredit the good work it was doing because it was envious of its success.

“Webster just opened up on me with a tirade of foul-mouthed abuse for no reason,” he said. “She was demanding to know where the food was going, if we had any cash donations and threatening to go to the police and close us down.

“Yet all we are doing is supporting families in poverty. We’re doing nothing wrong.”   

However Webster firmly denied Carnegie’s claims and instead accused him and his father of abusive and hostile behaviour towards her.

She said the Carnegies have been openly “bad mouthing” other foodbanks in a bid to gain prominence in Glasgow – an allegation supported by other Glasgow foodbanks TFN has learned.

“Darren Carnegie is bad but his dad is even worse,” Webster told TFN. “I find it incredible people are taken in by these two. They are vicious, threatening and totally out of order. They actually frighten me and I’ve warned others not to go near them, especially my female colleagues.”

“Darren said to me I had no right to question his motives or to ask about transparency, followed by a foul mouthed tirade.

“If it happens again it will be a police matter.”

Another foodbank manager who asked not to be named said the Carnegies had threatened them.

“I think they are out their depth,” they said. “It’s all happened to them very quick and the success has gone to their head. They are very, very abusive and while I don’t know if they are doing anything untoward, I just don’t think they are going about things the right way.

“At best they are hopelessly unprofessional.”

Last week Darren Carnegie attempted to gate-crash a Labour Party gala dinner in Glasgow Grand Central Hotel – but was stopped by security.

He also camped for a week in a tent outside Glasgow’s city chambers to raise awareness of poverty in the city.

Carnegie, however, said he has no plans to turn his cause into a charity, saying the extra “bureaucracy and regulation would hinder us from helping those who need it most.”

John Downie, director of public affairs for the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, said: “All charities and voluntary groups need to be very open and transparent about how they operate and ensure that they can demonstrate to members of the public that they are doing what they set out to do.

“Whenever someone supports a charity they are doing so in good faith and make a judgement call that they can trust that particular organisation.”

So far no allegations have been made to the police.

5th November 2014 by Joyce Drummond

How dare these people use the "Ice Cream Wars". Innocent people died, including children. Innocent men spent years in jail. How low can Glasgows Needy stoop?

5th November 2014 by Hippychick

There have been concerns about Glasgow's Needy for some time. There is even a fb page set up called Glasgows needy is a con. The people posting there have been blocked & their comments deleted from GN's page for asking reasonable questions about their operation, ostensibly to be able to direct people there. They refuse to answer. They have also refused to share their stock with other foodbanks, and insist it belongs to them. The food has been stockpiled and not distributed, and much has been thrown away, according to members & former volunteers posts. On the video of the demo outside Central Hotel, you can clearly hear someone say they have a vanload of food for Maryhill foodbank, and the clear reply "We are Glasgow's Needy. We'll sort you out in a minute". Maryhill foodbank did not receive that donation. There are also testimonies of threats and abuse from GN, and a video record of a phone call that will surprise contributers. Without donations, there would be no GN, so the least they can do is treat the people who enable them to operate with some respect.

6th November 2014 by Kim Wallace

Ludicrous to compare this to the Ice Cream wars of the 1980's!!

15th November 2014 by Anon

Egos, fishwives and gangsters. Publicity stunts go only so far in the charity game. And personalities don't last either. It's all about We not I. When your helping ppl keep the politics to the side. Flash headlines are all very well but how does this father and son who are operating WITHOUT regulation intend to be accountable for the donations and cash they get? Being related brings conflict of interest. How do ppl KNOW for sure they are honest? By being regulated and having "bureaucracy" etc. Passion takes you only so far. Charities have committees, volunteers and staff and rules for a reason, to keep the passion for helping going otherwise you are no more than a one hit wonder. As for Julie Webster, her outburst is strange for a charity worker, and her perfect red nails look pretty out of place for someone who is supposed to run a food bank and care, how does she lift boxes of tins and food etc? And why is she not taking her concerns to OSCR in the proper manner rather than using the press in a gutter way? Both her behaviour and Glasgows Needy come across as highly inexperienced and naive at best.

4th January 2015 by Jim

He certainly looks like the type of man that cares about poverty. Definitely no ego or profit motive there.

1st August 2017 by BlooperZzz

As much as i hate to admit it,I know these two Sweetie Wifes on a Personal level.Known them for Years.Actually ive known both All there Sad lives.Its a Con and a Money Spinner.These two only care about one Thing and one thing only,Themslves.I can tell a helluva lot regarding these two parasites....FACT!!!!

1st August 2017 by BlooperZzz

As a matter of fact,Im surprisd no one was onto thes two Long Ago,Ive only not lng found out as ive been living away from Glasgow for a while.Anyone wants the full lowdown on both These Muppets,Just Ask!!!!

2nd August 2017 by BlooperZzz

hahahahahahaha Andy and Darren Carnegie Fleecing the Goodwill of every decent person who gives Them,Anything.The Father and Son Combo...Father x druggie Was in the Army till he sued Them.Use to be labelled Arfa Daly anyonse and everyone who done dealings with him in the past,Were literally Bumped.And folk trust these Runts with Food Parcels and Money Donations.lololololol,FGS ive seen it All Now.