A GREENOCK minister predicts a surge in the demand for the foodbank following the end of the government's furlough scheme.

Rev. Fraser Donaldson, Pastor of Hope Community Church which runs Inverclyde Foodbank, fears many more people in Inverclyde will be forced to seek emergency help.

He says the winding down of the government's job retention scheme could leave many local people out of work and at crisis point.

Pastor Donaldson said: "There has been an increase in the need for our services.

"What we are anticipating now is that in August, when the furlough scheme changes and is reduced, more people will need foodbank services."

Fraser says that the people of Inverclyde have rallied round in an impressive way during the pandemic.

He said: "During the outbreak the level of support and amount of donations has been like nothing that we have seen before.

"Churches, groups, business, organisations, neighbourhoods and individuals have been incredible in not only making much needed donations but also expressing their support and appreciation of the work of the foodbank, which has been so encouraging."

Fraser was asked to give the Thought for Today slot when he recently featured on BBC Radio Scotland, and spoke of the challenges Inverclyde had faced but also its community spirit.

He said: "Our area has been crowned with many titles since the turn of the year: we’ve been identified as the most deprived area in Scotland with the highest level of child poverty and as the coronavirus capital of Scotland.

"Such titles tend to bring with them a sense of worry and fear and can create this perception that Inverclyde is a terrible place to live.

"But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

"It’s a great place to live.

"And what makes our community great is that in the midst of crisis, despair and anxiety have been met with and challenged with kindness, generosity and community spirit.

"In the midst of crisis a community has united around hope.

"Our perception of Inverclyde, and of any place, can be defined by where we put our focus.

"It’s people that shape the culture of a community and their spirit that defines the heart and life of an area."