Older people’s charity unveils new community hub and HQ following more than a quarter of a century of saving to make it possible
A new centre for older people has opened in Dumfries – realising a determined charity’s 27-year dream.
Food Train has officially unveiled its new headquarters in the town centre, having transformed a former council building.
As well as housing its local and national operations, the English Street base is also home to a community hub for people aged 65 and over to meet, eat and enjoy each other’s company.
Its lounge area has been completed following the successful £15,000 Food Train Hero fundraising campaign to ensure it has been furnished and fitted out to the highest standards.
That push was the final leg in a long journey to create somewhere for older people in the town centre – one of the ambitions of the Dumfries-founded charity’s founders, including renowned community campaigner the late Jean Mundell, when they launched it in 1995.
The official opening of the new centre was carried out yesterday (Weds July 20) by Lord Lieutenant for Dumfriesshire, Fiona Armstrong. She was joined by Food Train chief executive Michelle Carruthers, former chairman Dr Rob Wells and current trustee Colette McIntyre.
Other guests included Food Train members, supporters and politicians, with Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Finlay Carson among them.
Michelle Carruthers said: “This is a really exciting day in the history of our charity and we are so grateful for the support we have received, including that for our Food Train Hero fundraiser.
“Having a centre for older people in Dumfries town centre will make a real difference to our work and the lives of older people. The positive impact of somewhere that people can pop into for a cup of tea, a bite to eat and a blether shouldn’t be underestimated.
“This was one of the hopes of the older people who founded Food Train. I am so proud that, with the support of the community, we have been able to finally realise their dream.”
Food Train helps people aged 65 and over to eat well and live well in their own homes.
Its shopping delivery service – ensuring its members do not go without essential supplies – has expanded from those made in and around Dumfries to across Scotland. It also operates national befriending, meal-making and other support projects.
While Dumfries-founded Food Train has rented a number of offices in Dumfries – in Irish Street, Nith Place, Castle Street and on the Crichton estate – English Street is the first place it has owned.
Dr Wells said he was “immensely proud” to see the charity move into a home of its own.
He added: “It’s lovely to see this. It really is a dream realised for Food Train. It provides tremendous – and well-deserved – security for the charity to have its own property.”
Food Train secured its new home with the support of Dumfries and Galloway Council, the building’s former owners.
Transformation work has been carried out by Annan-based solutions business Eco Group.
Managing director Eddie Black said: “It’s been wonderful to work on this project with Food Train to create a modern, bright HQ from which they can continue to help those in the community who need their help.
“The opening of the new HQ signals a new era for Food Train and we’re delighted we’ve been able to support them on the journey.”
Eco carried out the work through its Eco Projects design, build and fit out division, while Integrity IT Solutions, which is also part of Eco, installed the IT network infrastructure as well as secure WiFi throughout the building. The firm also installed an EV chargepoint at the new HQ from its range of EcoGoZero net zero solutions.