Glasgow soup kitchen given 8 fines while collecting food

A Glasgow soup kitchen is appealing eight fines issued by the council for driving along bus lanes to collect food for the city’s most vulnerable.

The Homeless Project Scotland believes they should be exempt from the charges to allow volunteers to collect food from various locations across the city and load it into their fridge van.

The contraventions took place at Maryhill Rd/Bilsland Drive, Glassford Street, Dumbarton Road/Burnham Road and Nelson Mandela Place between August 25 and September 25 this year.

Glasgow City Council says that as a “gesture of goodwill” they have reduced the initial fines to £30 but have not received information from the charity on why exemptions should be put in place.

The soup kitchen helps people in Glasgow.

Colin McInnes, chairman of the Homeless Project Scotland, said: “We have written to Glasgow City Council asking for fines to be waived because we need to go down these lanes to collect food for the soup kitchen.

“The council said they would reduce four tickets to £30 and keep the other four at £90 but I said we wouldn’t be paying any of these fines because it is a disgrace that we are getting charged for collecting food for the hungry and vulnerable in Glasgow.

“The head of roads then said that as a gesture of goodwill they would reduce the eight fines to £30 each if they were paid within 14 days.

“I wrote back to the council and said the last time I checked, babies and hungry children crying in a queue waiting for food was an emergency.

“Because we are not allowed to use bus lanes, we have had to cancel three collections from three different stores which has made a massive difference on the food we can put on our tables.

“This means that food is being snatched from vulnerable and hungry mouths.”

Glasgow City Council has confirmed that the project is already exempt from the bus gate and parking restrictions on Argyle Street to help them operate their soup kitchen.

A spokesman said: “We have ensured Homeless Project Scotland has exemptions for the bus gate and parking restrictions on Argyle Street to help them operate the soup kitchen under Central Station.

“No other dispensation is in place and no information has ever been provided by them that attempts to show an exemption is needed for the whole city, or for any other specific bus gates, to collect or deliver food.

“We have offered to give advice on how to get to specific places without travelling in bus lanes and we have also reduced the fines to the initial £30 charge as a gesture of goodwill.

“Bus lanes are a crucial measure for the efficiency of the city’s public transport system.

“The blue light emergency services are exempted because of the urgency of what they do, not just because it is more convenient for them.”