21 October 2016Food bank may be unable to accept £750 donation
On the same day as Alistair Carmichael MP hosted a public surgery in the Orkney Food Bank, staff at the (politically neutral) Food Bank were reluctant to accept a donation of £750 from the Orkney Four, stating that a decision on whether or not to accept the money would need to be taken at board level.
The Orkney Four had previously taken Carmichael to court for lies told during the so-called French-gate affair, with the judges branding him a "blatant liar" who was "disingenuous at best", "evasive and self-serving at worst". Two of the three charges against Carmichael were upheld, although he ultimately avoided prosecution due to a legal technicality. The sum of £750 is all that remains of the money raised by the Orkney Four from crowd-funding their legal fees.
Carmichael was a cabinet member in the coalition government led by David Cameron, whose austerity measures caused a five-fold increase in food-bank use and pushed an additional 400,000 children in the UK into poverty (up to 4 million by 2014/15).
The food bank in Shetland accepted a similar donation from the Orkney Four on Thursday the 13th of October. See the Shetland News site for more information:
All involved with Yes Orkney hope that the Orkney Food Bank board will decide to accept the money, which will be much needed as Winter closes in.
Update: 23rd October
Yes Orkney has received the following message from Rhoda Walker,Secretary to Orkney Foodbank:
"Please can I reassure you we did not refuse the kind donation of £750 towards the Foodbank. The volunteer on duty was extremely busy seeing to clients needs when the donators came in so did not have time to spend at that point looking into things - she was aware that the Trussell Trust whom we are governed by have made it very clear all Foodbanks must be apolitical so was not sure if she could accept on our behalf.
However she accepted the cheque -made out to the Orkney Foodbank - and said she would check as a matter of urgency as to whether there was anything that would prevent us accepting on behalf of the needy in Orkney.
We have worked extremely hard to secure ongoing funds to make sure that we can continue to meet the needs of those less fortunate in our midst and would never turn down such a generous donation unless those we are governed by (Trussell Trust) insist we have to. Until they are back at work on Monday we are unable to confirm this.
I would be grateful if you could correct this message amongst your group as my email box is full of messages similar to yours accusing us of letting the people of Orkney down, which is deeply hurtful given how hard as volunteers we have worked to ensure we meet the needs of those in our midst.
As soon as TT are at work on Monday I will be contacting them to see if there is any reason within their rules which state we can't accept the generous donation."