A COMMUNITY group in Old Kilpatrick has unveiled plans to expand its services by using a storage container as a sit-in cafe.

Old Kilpatrick Food Parcels (OKFP) is looking for approval from planning officials at West Dunbartonshire Council to add a converted 40-foot steel storage container beside land next to the Glen Lusset Scout hall on Erskine Ferry Road, and to use the unit as an informal cafe for service users..

The organisation has been helping vulnerable people in West Dunbartonshire throughout the pandemic by providing emergency food parcels to residents.

Documents published on the local authority’s website state: “During the last year it has become increasingly apparent that some of the people who have visited the food bank also simply welcome the opportunity for some company, and as such an informal kitchen/cafe has been created from a steel storage container as an informal hub.”

The project, which was set up by Old Kilpatrick resident Maureen Cummings and her husband Gordon in the early stages of the first lockdown last spring after they were both furloughed from their jobs, was initially operated from a temporary base at the the former bus depot at Gavinburn Business Park in the village.

Last month, the Post reported on the group’s move to a new, permanent home - a warehouse at the Nu-Scope Business Centre in Mount Pleasant Drive.

The cafe plans state that there are two steel storage containers currently in use next to the scout hall - one being used by Old Kilpatrick Scouts and the other by community group Action Old Kilpatrick.

OKFP had a storage unit, funded by First Port, which it planned to use as a cafe, but according to a supporting statement lodged along with the application, the group discovered the container unit was too tall to be used at the business centre site.

That meant that it had to look for a new site for the unit, which it plans to open up as “The Chatty Cafe” for a limited number of individuals who will be offered tea, coffee, soup and toasted sandwiches.

Mrs Cummings said: “I see The Chatty Cafe as an important part of helping vulnerable people in our village by providing a safe, friendly space to stop for a refreshment or a chat.”

There have been no objections to the application so far.