AN arts magazine is calling on music lovers to donate unwanted records to raise funds for Scotland’s food banks.

Product magazine plans to host record fairs next year to turn the vinyl into cash to help with running costs of the 200-plus providers of emergency food currently operating in the country.

The project is in response to the “morally unacceptable” situation of people relying on charity to eat, says Patrick Small, editor of the independent arts and culture magazine.

Product’s drive comes as Edinburgh Food Project (EFP) reported a 48% increase in the number of parcels needed at its seven food banks in the city, with a third going to families with children.

EFP director Bethany Biggar says the jump came directly after the roll-out of Universal Credit in the Scottish capital in November 2018.

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Operations manager Ryan Strachan says he’s regularly amazed by the generosity of locals, whether they’re turning up at the Sighthill warehouse with bags of shopping, sending boxes from offices or donating provisions from their shopping.

But relying on public goodwill and an army of volunteers (“they’re our lifeblood,” Strachan says) has its limits, with fuel, travel and materials all needing paid for.

“It costs us five pounds to put out each box, not including staff costs,” Strachan says. “It’s a big operation. And while people are often very generous over this festive time, by February we’ll be running low again.”

The summer months are particularly tough, he says, with lower stocks of fruit juice and tinned meat common.

Coffee and tea are also hard to come by, with volunteers dividing up stocks into the three-day ration packs. Packs for people in temporary accommodation have items which can be prepared with a kettle – often the only cooking amenity they have access to.

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“The project came from the feeling that it’s morally unacceptable to have a situation where people have to use food banks in a country as rich as Scotland,” says Small. “I know a lot of people feel this too, and looking through your vinyl collection for records you can donate is a very simple thing you can do to help.”

He adds: “Though I think we have to be very careful not to normalise food banks, while we need them – and I forsee we will for a while longer – we need them to be fully operational so they can help people.”

Donations from any genre and era are welcomed, says Small, with owners of particularly rare items advised to get in contact if they’d rather not place them in a collection point.

The magazine editor is urging pubs, eateries, shops and venues to become drop-off points in addition to EFP’s warehouse and early adopters the Filmhouse, The Waverley Bar on St Mary’s Street and Down The Hatch in South Queensferry.

And to help spread the word, Product want donors to make social media posts of themselves parting with their unwanted albums and singles.

“We need more people to help, to tell other people about it and to act as collection points, whether it’s a pub, cafe, live venue, anything,” says Small. “That way people don’t have to post anything or go out of their way. They can just go to their local place and put the vinyl in a box.”

“And remember,” he adds, “don’t not put anything in because you don’t like it. Something you don’t want, someone somewhere will.”

Email with rare donations or to become a collection point.