Pastures new for Oban’s Hope Kitchen manager

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After four years at the helm, Hope Kitchen’s service manager has decided to move on to pastures new.

Lorraine King helped the charity grow from a small space into bespoke building, helping thousands of people in the process.

Hope Kitchen aids the most vulnerable people in the community by providing advice, food, comfort, and company in a safe space.

Speaking to The Oban Times about the last four years, Lorraine said: ‘I originally went to Hope on a charity career break from the NHS for a year. I was a district nurse for six years before that.

‘The year flew in and I just loved it so much that I gave up my NHS job and went to work for Hope. Funding wasn’t even secure then but I loved the way that I was able to help people on the spot – whether they needed housing advice, health advice, a listening ear, a cuppa or a food parcel.’

Things stepped up a gear for the Oban charity after it secured funding. This enabled Hope to move from its small premises in Argyll Street, to refurbishing a former shop on Soroba Road and making it its own.

‘We got a grant from The Big Lottery so that gave us some security and we planned our move to New Hope,’ Lorraine added. ‘I could really see the potential for expanding what we could offer and the number of people we could help. New Hope has really been a blessing for the community.

‘Our visitor numbers more than doubled in less than a year and in our first year we had 10,000 people through the doors of New Hope.

‘One of the most amazing bits has been working with some fantastic volunteers over these past four years. People who selflessly give their time and energy and love to everyone who walks through the doors.’

While Lorraine is leaving Hope, she will be continuing her community work.

The former Lismore resident will be starting as operations manager for the Isle of Luing Community Trust.

‘[The] trust have employed me to help them to revitalise and reinvigorate the community on Luing.

‘They have an amazing new centre – the Atlantic Islands Centre and my job is to take it into its next phase, just like I did at Hope.’

Lorraine added: ‘I would like to thank everyone who has supported me in my role at Hope – the community, both local and from far and wide – we have supporters all over Britain.

‘All the local agencies who opened their doors to us and worked with us to make people’s lives better. Local businesses who helped with donations of anything and everything – from tins of beans to washing machines.

‘I can not thank people enough for everything they’ve done for Hope – all the support has gone directly to those in our community who really need it. I would love to see anyone over on Luing – I’ll be based at the Atlantic Islands Centre and the cakes there are amazing.’

Catriona Petit is currently serving as interim service manager at Hope, until a permanent replacement is appointed.