Caring face of Camelon as community rallies round

A community hub that began as a breakfast club for children in Camelon is now helping the most vulnerable people in the area by delivering food and other essentials.

By Kirsty Paterson
Monday, 30th March 2020, 5:36 pm
Updated Monday, 30th March 2020, 5:37 pm

And from this week, Camelon Community Hub - formerly Ochiltree Social Club - is also joining forces with Camelon Juniors Football Club to help deliver school lunches to children who attend Carmuirs Primary.

As the lockdown took hold last week, they realised that many people who needed the most help were unable to leave their homes - including families who couldn't collect the school lunches that are being provided by Falkirk Council.

And the team at the hub now want to know of any vulnerable people who might need their help.

Camelon Community Hub CIC coordinating the delivery of school meals to children in the community who attend Carmuirs Primary School - with help from Camelon Juniors. Andy Kay, first team player Camelon Juniors; Connor McMullan, first team player Camelon Juniors; and Eamon Fullerton, assistant manager Camelon Juniors.

One of the organisers, Gary Clark, said: "We offer a confidential service but it’s worth noting that everyone is affected by this situation in some way. If you need help please ask!"

Camelon Community Hub was established by Iain Goodall, a coach with Camelon Juniors Football Club and Gary, the club's head of youth, who both got involved when it was announced that Ochiltree Social Club was closing.

With vast experience in the hospitality trade as well as strong community roots through the Juniors, they were keen to take the club over and run it as a hub that offered a wide variety of social activities and classes.

But all of their plans were knocked for six when the coronavirus struck.

Iain Goodall from Camelon Community Hub

Instead of abandoning their vision, however, they decided to use the premises as a base to see how could to ease the situation for vulnerable people in the area - and they were absolutely overwhelmed at the help and support they were given to make it happen.

They began by setting up a breakfast club for children, but rapidly became a food distribution centre, supported by local businesses including the Orchard Hotel, Greggs, Cafe Nero and Morrisons.

"Everything is changing on a daily basis - sometimes an hourly basis!" said Iain.

"We're now starting to cook and prepare meals. I realised very quickly no-one was coming up here so it was going to have to be delivery service, so we've said that anyone who needs an emergency care package should contact us.

"We've been delivering eggs, bread, milk, soup - all the things we've been donated. We do point people in the direction of the Food Bank, but sometimes people have money they just can't get out there.

They are vigilant about maintaining distance and thoroughly disinfecting the crates they use to deliver food, including soup, stovies and other warm meals.

"It's a really scary time for everyone," said Iain.

They are also very careful to maintain confidentiality for everyone involved, with only Iain knowing who is receiving the delivered packages.

Players, coaches and staff at Camelon Juniors, under the eye of director of football Calum Heeps, are now all on board to help distribute the lunches and they hope that after Easter they can extend their help to other schools.

For the moment, they are delivering to Carmuirs Primary only but bagged school meals can still be collected from local primary schools by anyone who needs one.

You can find them on Facebook under Camelon Community Hub or call 07470 848564.

If you would like to support their work, they also have a Go Fund Me page for donations at www.gofundme.com/f/covid19-grab&go-breakfast-kidsvulnerable-adults

Camelon Community Hub is working with Falkirk Council and CVS Falkirk. Anyone in the Falkirk district area who needs help to get essentials should call 0808 100 3161 between 9 am and 6.30 pm.