Maryhill Foodbank founder facing embezzlement charges

Credit: Geograph

Marianna Marceline
Writer

A trial date has been set in June for a woman that allegedly stole £15,000 in funds from a food bank in Glasgow.

Julie Webster, 41, has been charged in connection with alleged fraud offences in August 2016. She was a founder and coordinator of the Greater Maryhill Food Bank, on Chapel Street.

In the past, it had received donations from high-profile individuals including comedian Frankie Boyle and Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

The foodbank was forced to close down in March 2016 after Glasgow City Council pulled out its funding over questions regarding its financial irregularities. Since it opened in January 2013, it had provided the local community with 27,114 emergency food provisions.

Research from the Trussell Trust, a food bank charity, found that 1.2 million food parcels were handed out to those in need during the 2016-2017 period. It was the ninth successive year in which demand for foodbanks has risen.

The increase in food bank use in recent years has been blamed on the government’s austerity policies and on zero hour contracts which force individuals and families to rely on food donations as a means of feeding themselves.

David McAuley, the Chief Executive of the Trussell Trust, stated that “Reducing UK hunger will require a collective effort from the voluntary sector, Government, DWP, businesses and the public”.

The Trussell Trust operates 16 food banks in the Glasgow area, and they are largely supplying the demand that was left over after Greater Maryhill’s Food Bank closure.