Hotel owner to the rescue as Kersiebank Community Project vacates Grangemouth headquarters

Help was at hand after a charity which provides a food bank and other vital services to residents in the Grangemouth area had to look for alternative accommodation.

Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 3:25 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 9:58 am

Citing a “breakdown in communication” with Falkirk Council’s community learning and development (CLD) service the management committee of Kersiebank Community Project left its long-established base in Old Dundas School, Oxgang Road, placing the future of its food bank in jeopardy.

However, local hotelier Nawaz Haq was on hand to provide a temporary alternative and the food bank took place at his Helix Hotel, in Kerse Road, last week and will again take place this Thursday from 10am to noon.

Mr Haq said: “I was contacted by one of the volunteers very last minute saying they needed somewhere for people to go to get the food from the food bank. I said I had no problem helping them as long as it didn’t interfere with my guests.

Helix Hotel owner Nawaz Haq has kindly allowed his premises to be temporarily house Kersiebank Community Project food bank

“They also wanted to store some food and it is a short term situation for a couple of weeks so I said I was more than happy to help. I’ve known about the food bank for a couple of years and you don’t want to see people suffer if you can help.

“I don’t know why they have had to move out of Kersiebank, I know there has been some kind of problem, but I don’t know what it is.”

Mr Haq took over the Grangelea – as the premises was once known – some years ago and invested time and money to convert it from a homeless hostel/halfway house into the Helix Hotel, a completely refurbished facility geared for business people and industry contract workers.

Kersiebank Community Project management committee thanked Mr Haq in a statement on its Facebook site and tried to address resident’s concerns over the future of the charity.

It stated: “There has been a breakdown in communication between the charity and Falkirk Council CLD who own the building we run the project from. We are working currently to resolve the issue.

“Unfortunately we are no longer able to run our food bank from the KCP building. The food bank will be closed on Thursday but we will be providing food parcels and fresh food items from the Helix Hotel, Grangemouth who have kindly offered us their premises.

“Many thanks to the Helix hotel for allowing us to keep providing this vital service to our local community in keeping with our aims as a charity.”

Kersiebank had been running its food bank at the Old Dundas School for a number of years, ever since it held a special drop-in event on Christmas Eve to hand out food parcels and Christmas presents to those who needed them most.

That night was such a success, and demand was so great, the food bank became a year round endeavour.

Kersiebank also offered community cooking classes, a clothing bank and holiday programmes for local pupils.

It is understood members of the management committee have had to relinquish their keys to the Old Dundas School property.

A Falkirk Council spokesman said: “For many years community learning and development service has worked in partnership with Kersiebank Community Project management committee to support them to make a positive contribution to community life in Grangemouth.

“As the management committee has experienced a number recent challenges, CLD has temporarily taken over the running of the centre and are currently working with the management committee and other partners to resolve this situation.

“Falkirk Council strives to create positive relationships with a wide range of community organisations in order that they can provide services to the highest standards across the council area.”