Glasgow council slammed for taking pantry from Govanhill Park

CAMPAIGNERS have expressed fury after council bosses removed a Govanhill food pantry for a second time this year.

The Glasgow Times told in July how the group Food Not Bombs had set up a community pantry at Queen’s Park to give quick and free access to food and other essentials.

Glasgow City Council took the fridge away over safety grounds – and has now removed a substitute food store from Govanhill Park.

A spokesperson for Food Not Bombs said the council had effectively “stolen food out of the mouths of our neighbours” by taking the resource away.

But the council said its safety concerns around the pantry had not changed.

The Food Not Bombs group said: “For the second time this year, Glasgow City Council has stolen food out of the mouths of our neighbours by confiscating and destroying Govanhill’s free pantries.

READ MORE: Pantry removed from Queen’s Park

“Since July, volunteers with Food Not Bombs Glasgow have maintained a converted mini-fridge in Govanhill Park, ensuring a sealed, hygienic and regularly restocked pantry of non-perishables, baby food and nappies for locals in need.

“traditional food edges have gatekeeping systems of method-testing and referrals that fail people in our community for a number of reasons, whether that’s language barriers, fear of being challenged on their immigration position or simply the stigma of having to ask for help.

“Free pantries are a simple, functional and discreet workaround.”

The group said that the pantry has been “warmly welcomed” in Govanhill and has not been short of donations.

A statement from them additional: “A few weeks ago, we met a lady who’s been nearly destitute ever since her husband died; we ordinarily stock tinned sweetcorn now because it’s her favourite.

“That’s the kind of operation this is.

“Furthermore we believe that food should be an basic human right, no questions asked – we want nothing less than a world where everyone has both a complete belly and an intact sense of dignity.

“By removing our first pantry in Queens Park earlier this year on spurious grounds of “possible for misuse”, Glasgow City Council sent a message that they cared more about the visible signs of poverty than the fact that people in this city are starving.

“Robbing our community of self-reliance a second time is unconscionable, but it will not stop us from looking after our own.”

In response, a Glasgow City Council spokesman said: “We continue to understand the good intentions behind this idea, but we keep concerned that an unsupervised store left in a public space could be misused and that leads to someone in need being harmed.

“On balance we felt the safest option was to have it removed.”

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