fbpx

Artist Don: How Leith Pantry has helped ease my depression

Pantry member Don tells us how he and Your Local Pantry helped him have helped each another

A pen drawning of Portobello Beach in Edinburgh, by Don from Leith Pantry

Your Local Pantries are making an amazing difference to people’s lives, in all four nations of the UK.

From Portadown to Portsmouth, Edinburgh to Ebbw Vale, Pantries are bringing people together around food and helping people forge friendships and freedom, to live more full lives.

Pantries are about so much more than food.

We were delighted recently to chat to Donald, a member at Leith Pantry in Edinburgh and a talented artist.

Some of his pictures are now on display in the Pantry, for members and volunteers to enjoy.

A pen drawning of the church that houses Leith Pantry, by Pantry member Don

Donald, who is 66 and recently retired, says:

“I’ve been painting and drawing my whole life. I worked in graphic design at first, then in advertising, in Edinburgh then London then Amsterdam.

“Unfortunately, throughout my life, I have had mental health issues based on my childhood. I have suffered depression really badly.

“About six years ago, I was staying in Holland got really depressed and ended up homeless. I ended up back in Edinburgh and needing to use the food bank. And then they told me about the Pantry.

“I joined just as it was opening a year or so ago, and it was really nice. I go every week. The free vegetables and fruit is great. I’m on a limited income, so I was buying processed food as it’s cheaper, but it’s not as good for you.

“Since joining, I’ve been feeling a bit better and I have been off my medication for the first time in six years.

“It’s improved my diet and I have finally been getting good treatment from the NHS.

“A big part of that improvement has been thanks to Leith Pantry.

“I wanted to give something back, and what I do best is drawing and painting. So I brought a picture in one day and the manager Ann liked it, and now there are five or six on the walls – some of scenes in Leith and Edinburgh, and one of the church where the Pantry is. 

A bright painting of Leith Links, by Don from Leith Pantry

“The Pantry contributed to me feeling better and being able to do my art again, and that in turn helps my mood further.

“I went to the food bank first, but at the Pantry you have choice, which is important. You can choose what you want.

“You also get the good social contacts. It’s well run and they’re always very cheery and I look forward to it every week.”

83% of Your Local Pantry members say membership has been good for their mental health
A blue bunting flag with the Coop and Your Local Pantry logos
Social impact research
2023

A church with people at the margins

Weed it and reap: why so many Pantries are adding gardens

Epsom voices: It’s a lovely place – but many feel excluded

Stoke voices: We want opportunity and hope

Merseyside Pantries reach big milestone

Transforming the Jericho Road

Partner focus: Meet Community One Stop in Edinburgh

Thank you Pat! 40 years of compassionate action

Halifax voices: on housing, hope and scandalous costs

The UK doesn’t want demonising rhetoric – it wants to end poverty

A church with people at the margins

Weed it and reap: why so many Pantries are adding gardens

Three photos of Epsom and Epsom Pantry, with the Neighbourhood Voices logo

Epsom voices: It’s a lovely place – but many feel excluded