Want to read more?
At the start of the pandemic in March we took the decision to make online access to our news free of charge by taking down our paywall. At a time where accurate information about Covid-19 was vital to our community, this was the right decision – even though it meant a drop in our income. In order to help safeguard the future of our journalism, the time has now come to reinstate our paywall, However, rest assured that access to all Covid related news will still remain free.
To access all other news will require a subscription, as it did pre-pandemic. The good news is that for the whole of December we will be running a special discounted offer to get 3 months access for the price of one month. Thank you for supporting us during this incredibly challenging time.
We value our content and access to our full site is only available with a subscription. Your subscription entitles you to 7-day-a-week access to our website, plus a full digital copy of that week’s paper to read on your pc/mac or mobile device. In addition, your subscription includes access to digital archive copies from 2006 onwards.
Just want to read one issue? No problem you can subscribe for just one week (or longer if you wish).
Hope Kitchen in Oban plans to reopen on Thursday to takeaway lunches and groups.
Prior to the coronavirus, the ‘Helping Our People Eat’ charity on Soroba Road, allowed walk-ins but will now be offering takeaway lunches between 11.30am-1.30pm.
Any customer can use the takeaway service with people asked to pay what they can afford with a minimum donation of £1.
It will also welcome back social groups between 2pm-4pm, with friendship being a key part of what it offers.
The plan is to see how the arrangement goes until mid-September and then review the return of sit-down meals.
The Christian-led charity had to close its doors on March 16, although at the height of lockdown it was distributing up to 230 food parcels a week across Oban and Mull.
This week alone, it expects to be delivering in the region of 90 food parcels.
However, service manager Catriona Petit said the likely demand in the next few months was uncertain but generally it helped around 250 people a week.
People who had never used the food bank before had started to come forward, she said, having lost jobs in industries including tourism and construction.
As furlough schemes wind down and grants dry-up, she expects demand for the service to come under increased pressure, with longer-term solutions needed if the town sees redundancies this autumn and winter.
On average, the charity receives the equivalent of around four trolley loads of donated food a week. This consists of donations handed in by the public, or left at collection points in Tesco and Lidl.
The two supermarkets, along with M&S in Oban, also donate ‘short date’ food, and that is topped up by local shopkeepers too.
Ms Petit encouraged people to still seek support from Hope Kitchen if they are struggling for food, and said while the charity was able to help in a crisis, it would not be able to indefinitely support new waves of people coming forward.
Ms Petit said: ‘It’s an area that’s a big concern for Hope Kitchen. Exactly how the next few months will pan out, we don’t know, but we would not want the food bank to become an extension of the welfare system.
‘Many people can be an unexpected bill away from disaster and we are concerned that if many people are made redundant and have to go on to Universal Credit, they can wait up to five weeks and there may be an expectation that we can bridge the gap.
‘This is the 21st century and we should not have anywhere where people are reliant on a food bank.’
Those needing help can contact 01631 565730 or email email@example.com