Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

current issue



Homeless charities feel the pinch

December 09 2011
Rising food and energy costs plus growing demand make a worrying double whammy


The double pressures of rising food and energy costs are hitting charities offering support for homeless and vulnerable people.

With inflation currently running at over five per cent, many charities claim that they are struggling to provide basic services without additional funds to draw on.

Some may have to consider cutting back services due to spiralling costs.

In Edinburgh the Grassmarket Community Project, which offers hot meals for homeless people as well as wide variety of activities including art classes, woodworking and gardening, is concerned that they may find themselves in debt.

General manager, Josiah Lockhart, said: “Our energy bills have gone up 18 per cent this year, and were already a few grand over budget. We’ve had to up our fundraising target to meet this and most funders don’t give money for overheads.

“I am worried we aren’t going to hit the extra amount and have had to make small savings across the project.” Rising costs are also putting the Glasgow City Mission under pressure, forcing them to reduce its food distribution services. The city centre charity also provides meals as well as a wide range of training and education opportunities.

Andrew Low, chief executive of Glasgow City Mission, said: “We have been affected by rising costs. For example the cost of heating for our city centre building has sky-rocketed.

“We are fortunate to receive a lot of donated food, but we still spend thousands of pounds on basics like bread, cheese, meat and milk. We have had to cut down on out food distribution service.

“At the same time we are seeing higher demand as more and more people come to us for help. During a recession it is the people on the bottom rung who are the hardest hit. I don’t think the situation can continue like this for much longer.

“Like many organisations we are struggling to keep our heads above water but we have been truly humbled by people who have stuck with us and continued to support us.”