South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has praised Kate’s Kitchen in Annan after a visit to the charity last week.
However the MSP said the vital benefits advice Kate’s Kitchen give to people who are left destitute by sanctions or universal credit delays should be unnecessary in a humane society.
Ms McAlpine said:
“I am absolutely delighted to have visited Kate’s Kitchen and to see first hand the wonderful work that the volunteers do to support people in the local area.
“Groups like this are vital. The volunteer opportunities offer a positive life path for so many people and I was particularly impressed with the garden and poly tunnel which now supplies vegetables for the kitchen.
“Kate’s Kitchen offer a vital service with benefits advice but it is so sad that people are in this situation in the first place – sanctions and payment delays by the DWP are leaving people desperate. Thank goodness for Kate’s Kitchen but there is no place for sanctions in a humane society.”
The charity exists to help support people with a range of services, including food parcels, hot meals, help with benefits, one-to-one support, and life skills among other things.
Kate’s Kitchen also has a PC suite to help people access the internet, allowing people without home internet access to be able to apply for universal credit or to submit job applications.
The group presently employ one worker to help people with support and advice Universal Credit on the back of the welfare reforms. The Jobcentre have referred 50 people since February 2019.
In 2018, the group ran 496 support sessions, and supported 91 new clients. Many people affected by the closure of Young’s Seafood ‘Pinneys’ plant have used services with Kate’s Kitchen.
The group have run pop-up support sessions in Langholm, Beattock, and Lockerbie, and are currently exploring the option of relocating to larger premises to expand their service provision and help more people.