Food Train - National Expansion

Food Train is a grocery shopping, befriending and household support service for older people in Dumfries & Galloway, a grocery shopping, household support and outreach library service for older people in West Lothian and grocery delivery service for older people in Dundee, Stirling, Glasgow and Renfrewshire.

Our aim is to help older people who, through age, ill health, frailty or disability, are unable to manage their grocery shopping, by providing a surrogate shopping service and home support and social contact services.



Our objective is to support older people to live independently at home addressing the difficulty older people face getting their weekly grocery shopping, doing jobs around the house and the growing isolation that comes with failing health.

We also aim to provide a wide range of supported volunteering opportunities for people of all ages and abilities.  We envisage our organisation as a ‘one stop shop’ for older people – by providing, or assisting them to access,  services to help them live independently at home for as long as they wish and are able.

Organisational Development

  • Expanded Food Train Glasgow in to the North East of the city with additional shop partners and locally based volunteers.
  • The newest Food Train in Renfrewshire is now 1 year old and proving to be extremely successful locally.
  • Introduced a new national neighbourhood meal sharing project called Meal Makers with the joint support of the Scottish Government and Rank Foundation.  After a study tour to London in October 2013, which included a visit to Casserole Club, we saw the potential to bring a similar project to older people in Scotland and it was the ideal fit for Food Train given years of customer feedback around cooking meals.  In under 12 months Food Train took this concept and turned it to reality and we are very excited to see how far Meal Makers can go in the come year.
  • Increased our total members from around 1,200 to over 1,500.
  • Increased our total volunteers from around 500 to 600.
  • Increased our total grocery deliveries from around 27,000 to 33,000.


  • West Lothian Food Train was approached to take over the previously poorly run local Library Outreach service for housebound older people.  This made sense as many of the people receiving a poor service were our members.  This service created extra income for the branch, more hours for staff and was easily integrated into our current shopping and home support service.  Local customer numbers grew rapidly and we attracted more new volunteers.  The new library outreach was transformed within weeks and now provides a reliable and robust weekly service.
  • Dundee Food Train now has 4 vans and surpassed 200 customers in the last few weeks.  They have also secured small funds locally to offer some befriending activities to our customers there.
  • Food Train Friends befriending service in Dumfries & Galloway secured £590,474 from Big Lottery over 5 years enabling additional staff to be employed and a much larger group of older people to get regular social support.  Food Train Friends now has over 200 people involved as befrienders or befriendees.
  • Rank supported a Time to Shine Internship for us who catapulted us into the world of social media.  We now have an active national twitter account, a new look website, Facebook for all our regions/projects and our first successful Crowdfunding campaign.

Achievements with Rank support

The focus of this Rank Foundation funding is to support our national expansion. Although during the last 12 months we have not added another new regional branch of Food Train as per our plans, we have launched a new national project, added a new service to our West Lothian Food Train and continued the growth of Glasgow Food Train from the South East to also cover the South West and most recently the North East.


All our existing branches are growing well and provide valuable evidence to new areas considering change. Customer numbers, volunteer numbers, grocery deliveries, home support jobs and befriending have all grown significantly during the year.

Talks with new areas this year have been varied and we have one new area in the final stages of agreeing a new Food Train for 2015 with one other area trying to agree funding by the deadline we have with Scottish Government for their match funding.