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The Lanthorn Community Food Shop has temporarily relocated to The Paraffin Lamp at The Centre, ensuring that the shop can continue to support those in need.

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The Food Shop has been based at the Lanthorn Community Centre for several years, providing discounted food parcels for people who need it most. Demand for this invaluable service has increased since lockdowns began in early 2020 and it is currently supported by ASDA and a number of local businesses and charitable organisations.

The Lanthorn Community Centre closed to the public on 2nd April, with plans for it to re-open once repairs and refurbishments are complete, which is expected to take approximately two years.

After receiving notification of the imminent closure of the Lanthorn Community Centre, volunteers made finding an alternative location for The Food Shop one of their top priorities, however finding somewhere local that met the prerequisites needed for food distribution was not easy.

When Trish Finlayson, owner of The Paraffin Lamp in The Centre, read about the closure and the ongoing search for a new location, she approached the Lanthorn Community Education Association and offered The Paraffin Lamp as a free venue until the end of June.

With its ample storage and workspace, The Paraffin Lamp is a perfect temporary venue for The Food Shop – giving both volunteers and service users plenty of room to abide by social distancing regulations, offering easy access for both food deliveries and parking and is within walking distance for some users.

The Food Shop will be open as normal on Mondays and Wednesdays at 12 noon at The Paraffin Lamp, closing only when all of the food parcels have been claimed.

The content of the food bags varies depending on what is delivered. The Food Shop also has limited supplies of cat and dog food free for people to collect if they are in need.

Entry is via the front door and COVID restrictions remain in place including social distancing and a one-way system.

Trish Finlayson from The Paraffin Lamp, commented:

“We’re a community pub and as such we’re always keen to help our community any way we can. The Community Centre has been a base for The Food Shop as well as the Boys’ and Girls’ Brigades and other local groups for a number of years and we’re pleased to be able to support a service which itself supports so many people in our area.”

John D Fyfe, Chairman of Lanthorn Community Education Association, said:

“When COVID hit the Dedridge area, it hit hard, adding to the food insecurity for many of our existing families, and bringing others to us for the first time. The Lanthorn Community Education Association, the independent charity which manages the building on behalf of the community, immediately decided to increase the Lanthorn Food Shop to twice a week, despite the loss of charitable income from lets and associated fees due to the closure.

“In the past year this initiative has delivered thousands of food parcels, meals, hygiene and cleaning parcels and baby and toddler supplies - and when the news came that the Lanthorn would be closed for up to 24 months we were afraid that this vital service would have to be curtailed, or even stopped completely.

“The kind actions of Trish from The Paraffin Lamp have bridged a vital period, allowing us to continue to support those in need, and has given us the breathing space needed to search out longer term solutions. Above all, it’s a great example of how local businesses have stepped-in with community service in the face of adversity.”

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