Closure-hit foodbank thrown into crisis

Julie webster

Julie Webster 

Uncertain future for one of the country's biggest foodbanks 

10th February 2016 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

One of Scotland’s busiest foodbanks is in crisis after it closed its doors last week.

Great Maryhill Foodbank (GMF) in Glasgow suddenly shut shop last week citing “a multitude of reasons”.

Although a statement from founder Julie Webster said it will re-open tomorrow (11 February), there must now be doubts about whether the operation is financially sustainable.

The foodbank has been at the centre of a number of controversies and has been involved in an ongoing spat with Glasgow City Council regarding funding it was given for a CCTV system following a break in last year.

Glasgow council said it would not make any further grant awards to the foodbank after it mounted an investigation to find out where the cash was spent.  

It followed repeated requests for information about accounts which the council said had not been provided.

Webster has repeatedly denied any financial mismanagement and has now asked Glasgow City Council why it has decided to withdraw funding.

The organisation failed to provide information, documentation and explanations sought by the council

In the meantime she said she would be working with the GMF’s board to work on a strategy for its long term future.

However in a Facebook post Webster said the foodbank would reopen this week.

“After nearly a week of meetings between myself, the GMF board and other outside bodies I am delighted to inform you that Chapel Street will reopen tomorrow (Thursday 11th February),” she wrote.

“A letter has been formulated and sent to Glasgow City Council audit department once again requesting a meeting with them to discuss their decision to withdraw support from the foodbank. This letter will be made available to the public in due course.”

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: “We received a whistleblowing complaint regarding the foodbank last year.

"During the subsequent investigation, the organisation failed to provide information, documentation and explanations sought by the council.

“After reviewing evidence, the head of audit recommended that the council does not make any further payments to the foodbank.”

The council shared its concerns with the Scottish Government, which also gives the foodbank funding, and charity regulator OSCR.