Food Train Chief Executive Michelle Carruthers has been shortlisted in the Leading Light category of the Scottish Charity Awards 2020 in recognition of her relentless work, which has included ensuring thousands of older people across Scotland have not gone without essential supplies during the coronavirus crisis.
She is also a contender for the event’s prestigious People’s Choice Award, voting for which opens at www.scvo.org/vote today (Friday).
Dumfries-based Food Train, founded 25 years ago to ensure older people do not go without critical shopping supplies, works across nine regions of Scotland, supporting 3,200 older people – up from 1,905 at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic – with the help of 1,300 volunteers.
Former mental health nurse Michelle, who lives near the town, joined the tiny charity in 2002 and has spearheaded its growth across the country.
Her nomination for the Leading Light Award stated: “Michelle never waivers in her campaign to fight for the rights of older people in Scotland. Whoever she speaks to, it’s about what more can be done, what more can we do, what more you can do.
“Michelle won’t rest until the older people of Scotland living in a community setting have a right to healthy, nutritious food, practical access to food, more social companionship and hot meals.
“Professionals and academics seek out her counsel relating to the challenges and barriers in older age, knowing the value of her unique experience. Her embedded qualities of honour and integrity are evident in everything she does.”
Reacting to being shortlisted, Michelle Carruthers said: “I’m delighted and humbled to be shortlisted in these awards. This is recognition of not just my work, but the achievements of the entire team of staff and volunteers at Food Train in supporting older people to live healthy independent lives. I am forever grateful for their hard work, dedication and determination to make a difference.
“I believe passionately that improving the lives of older people should be a national priority. The certainty of knowing someone you trust is going to bring your food every week makes a massive difference to the lives of older people. But the work of Food Train is about more than just shopping, it’s about social contact. We’re here to talk to those we support, to make sure they are cared for and help in any way that we can.”
Run annually by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), the Scottish Charity Awards celebrate the best of Scotland’s voluntary sector.
This year’s shortlist includes 45 individuals and organisations from charities and voluntary groups across the country. While a judging panel will determine the winners under eight distinct categories – including Leading Light – members of the public are being urged to have their say by voting for their favourite overall entry in the People’s Choice Award, in which Michelle is also shortlisted.
Anna Fowlie, Chief Executive of SCVO, said: “Much of the work celebrated this year predates the pandemic. All aspects of our lives have been disrupted in 2020. Our communities and the charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises they rely on have been under enormous pressure. Scotland’s voluntary sector has never been more needed and will be essential to Scotland’s recovery. At SCVO we know that fantastic work is going on all the time and we are delighted to celebrate these achievements and successes through the Scottish Charity Awards.
“The Awards are a great way of celebrating and recognising the people and organisations who make our voluntary sector a crucial part of every part of life in Scotland. Our finalists are fantastic and I would encourage everyone to support their favourite by voting in the People’s Choice Award.”
To vote for Michelle in the People’s Choice Award, go to scvo.org.uk/vote before 5pm on Friday, 4th September. The winner will be announced during an online ceremony on 25th September.