A NEW foodbank has opened in Prestonpans.

It is based at the Lighthouse Community Hub in Lighthouse Central Church on West Loan, with people who have a referral from a support agency able to attend it every Monday from 10.30am to 12.30pm.

Called Foodbank+, it opened for the first time on Monday, September 7, as part of Edinburgh City Mission’s network of basics banks.

It is the fourth foodbank to open in East Lothian, joining East Lothian Foodbank which is based in Tranent on Civic Square and run by the Trussell Trust; another Edinburgh City Mission basics bank in Musselburgh’s Baptist Church; and Dunbar Basics Foodbank, run by Dunbar Parish Church in partnership with Edinburgh City Mission.

The one in Prestonpans will be overseen and coordinated by husband-and-wife duo Katie and Andy Boyle. Andy works for Edinburgh City Mission, overseeing three other foodbanks as well as the one in Prestonpans, and the Lighthouse, where he provides debt help; Katie is also an outreach worker at Lighthouse.

The pair, who live in Haddington, volunteered for the Prestonpans resilience team during lockdown, Andy doing deliveries for Jane Russell’s Sunday chicken dinners service and the Pennypit Trust, and Katie dog walking for two women who were shielding.

They have also been working with East Lothian Foodbank and have become aware of the need for such a service in Prestonpans.

The pair spoke to those at the foodbank about the new location, with staff there fully behind the idea and offering to send referrals to them.

Foodbank+ will work alongside East Lothian Foodbank, Sunday chicken dinners and the Pennypit Trust, referring people to those services if they come in when they are closed.

Katie said: “We’re aware Prestonpans was a real area of need for [East Lothian Foodbank], they’ve had a lot of deliveries going there.

“During lockdown, we both volunteered with the local resilience team, which really highlighted the need over lockdown, and we decided to push on with this and contacted Edinburgh City Mission.”

The idea for the foodbank also stemmed from a member of the church who received support from an Edinburgh City Mission basics bank last year and shared their story.

However, Katie said it was seeing those in need during lockdown that spurred on the decision to launch and open.

Andy said: “Just before Covid, we noticed how big food outgoings were for the foodbank, with 27 per cent going to the Preston Seton Gosford area, with Prestonpans being the biggest area.”

Unlike East Lothian Foodbank, the one in Prestonpans will only be open one day a week and home deliveries are not taking place.

Only people who are referred to the service will be able to use it, with a staff member having a chat with the individual, discussing not only how many weeks of food they will need but also what other support can be provided, referring people to services that can help if needed.

Andy said: “We want to support people so that they never need to use a foodbank.”

Katie and Andy put out an appeal for volunteers, with previous resilience team members and mums from Preston Tower Primary School signing up so far.

They also put out a thank you to the local area partnership and Connected Communities manager Emma Brown for their support so far.

For more information on donations, volunteering requests and referrals, call Katie on 07738 412716.