IT WAS full steam ahead for Food Train’s volunteers in Annan with the team having their busiest Christmas ever.

They were out collecting groceries from the Tesco supermarket in Annan and delivering them all over Annandale and Eskdale before Christmas Day.

With more older people than ever spending the day in their own homes, because of covid-19, volunteers and staff ensured they had the groceries needed to enjoy the festive season.

Since the pandemic started demand for services rose by 70 per cent across the country, as older people began shielding at home.

The charity's shoppers and delivery teams supporting older people across the region are now making more than 1,730 home deliveries every month, up from about 1,050 this time last year.

Across Scotland teams are collectively making 5,000 home deliveries every month - up from 3,400 this time last year.

Those working as part of the branch teams in Nithsdale, Annandale and Eskdale, the Stewartry, Newton Stewart and Stranraer were praised for their efforts both at Christmas and throughout the year.

Helen McAnespie, Food Train regional manager for Dumfries and Galloway, said: “I can’t thank our volunteers enough for all that they’re doing to help older people eat well and live well in their own homes.

“Our services have never been needed more and the way they’ve responded to the demands we’ve faced this year has been tremendous.

"They’ve made a positive difference to the lives of older people in our region by ensuring they’ve not gone without essential shopping.

“The need for our work is, of course, there all-year round. But, it’s nice to know that we’re doing our bit to help.”

Chief executive Michelle Carruthers, said: "So many of the older people who turned to us as coronavirus took hold in our communities have stayed.

"That’s partly down to the fact that they have come to enjoy having their shopping delivered directly to their homes and the social contact they have with our volunteers along the way.

“But, for a great many older people, the simple fact is that they still don’t feel safe going into shops and want to feel more confident before they return for themselves, which everyone can empathise with. We’re continuing to work really hard to meet that demand.”

Food Train was founded 25 years ago and operates across nine Scottish regions, provides support to over-65s who are unable to manage independently, ensuring they can eat well and enjoy invaluable social contact.

To find out about volunteering with the organisation call 01387 270800 or go to