A SUPPORT charity in Helensburgh has teamed up with a local business to help out vulnerable residents by offering them tasty hot soup and a chance to chat.

We Are With You, formerly known as Addaction, was founded in 1967 and looks to help people who suffer from drug and alcohol abuse as well as poor mental health to make positive behavioural changes.

The group has recently launched an outreach soup kitchen out of Helensburgh Central railway station, engaging with vulnerable and lonely people who used to access services that are now no longer available to them.

The programme was launched after the group learned of a local resident with a learning disability who fell victim to a financial scam – prompting We Are With You to expand its efforts to help vulnerable people in the area in whatever way they could.

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Angela Robertson, We Are With You senior practitioner, told the Advertiser: “When lockdown happened, everything closed down and we were working alongside volunteers from the family support service who were struggling with funding and manpower.

“There was even a resident who had calls to set up direct debits and it turned out to be scammers – we supported them to go into the bank to sort it. They had a learning disability, and the scammers took six payments of £7 or less. It was coming off their benefits for some time.

“After speaking to our service manager, we put together a plan to do some outreach work – we did soup and sandwiches to get support to the most vulnerable in the town, and we were looking to re-engage some of the people who fell through the cracks during lockdown and to attract new clients who haven’t had any support at all.

“We give them some food and then we signpost them to the right services.”

And they couldn’t have done it without the help of local greengrocer Nature’s Harvest in West Princes Street.

“The fruit and veg guys heard that we were delivering a soup kitchen,” Angela continued, “and they offered to provide all the vegetables for the soup three times a week, which is a really lovely undertaking by them.”

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Thomas Hudspith, Nature’s Harvest assistant manager, said: “We’ve got our free fruit and vegetable fund for unemployed and school kids, so it seemed like the right thing to do.

“They were quite shocked, happy and grateful that we could help them, and they were never wanting too much from us as well.

“We’ve always wanted to help the community in different ways, we want to help them with healthy food so that’ll help other parts of their lives and everybody can eat healthily.”

The soup kitchen operates on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 10am and 12 noon at Helensburgh Central.

We Are With You is also looking for more volunteers to help them out after the new year, with plans to extend the soup kitchen initiative into other areas.

For more information or to volunteer, visit sfad.org.uk/service/addaction-helensburgh, call 0800 206 1460 or email argyllandbute@wearewithyou.org.uk.

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