On a Friday night, as people flood into Glasgow city centre for a night out, a big operation to feed people in need is underway.

Under the ‘Heilanman’s umbrella’ bridge in Argyle Street below Central Station, it looks and sounds likes chaos.

At 7pm, an hour and a half before they start serving, a queue has formed already, with more than a dozen people waiting.

Outside, Just Eat and Deliveroo riders whizz past on their way to pick up at McDonald’s and KFC at the corners, as the pots of soup, curry, mince and tatties and pasta are being brought out.

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Inside, the cramped premises of Homeless Project Scotland, it looks chaotic but only because it is so busy.

Everyone has a job and they know what they are expected to do. A communication system involving radio, and a lot of shouting, keeps the operation moving. It works.

People are shouting “Colin”. Through the radio people are seeking “Colin’. It is heard so often you could think ‘Colin’ was a radio language term like ‘Roger’.

Colin is Colin McInnes, who is marshalling well over 50 volunteers tonight.

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By the time they are ready to open, the queue has more than doubled to around 40 people.

People like Jim, (not his real name) who has come in from Castlemilk, because his Universal Credit payment didn’t come through that day.

People like Margaret, who doesn’t use the gas at home because she can’t afford the bill.

Jim, who is in his 40s, said: “I get £145 a fortnight but it didn’t get paid today.”

Without the kitchen he would been in for an even harder weekend.

He said: “I’ve got no money. I’d have been sitting in the house and would have to tap money off neighbours.

“I feel embarrassed coming here. People I know, are in the town for a night out and they could see me but I’ve got to survive.”

Margaret is from the East End and is a regular at the kitchen.

She said: “This lasts a couple of days for me and my son. He’s 21 and autistic.

“I wouldn’t be able to cope without this help. I can’t afford to use the gas at home, only the electric. I’m on carers allowance and it’s not enough. So I come here every week.”

The city passes by while Jim, Margaret and dozens more, wait for a lifeline to see them through the next few days.

As well as hot soup, while they waited, people were given four tokens that allowed them to get four different meals they can take away with them.

Several people ate immediately, standing or sitting down at a café table outside, under the bridge

The queue has young, old and in between, Glaswegians born and bred and asylum seekers and people with ‘no recourse to public funds. A group of four young men from Morocco queue with people from across Glasgow, equal in their reliance on the generosity of others.

Equality is important to the volunteers providing the service.

“We don’t serve anything we wouldn't eat ourselves, it is all nutritious and fresh” said Rhona Nichol, Charity Secretary.

There is no judging here, under the bridge, or means testing.

It is not a religious organisation but the motto could easily be ‘ask and it shall be given’.

Colin said it functions on donations and support from businesses.

Too many to name but restaurants and cafes donate ingredients and sauce, supermarkets give food and People’s Ford and Peter Vardy have given them vehicles and Total Control provide security for free.

He his frustrated at the lack of support, or just recognition for the volunteers efforts, from Government, local and national.

Colin has £50 in his hand, handed in by a man who used the service last year when he was struggling and who came back to say thanks.

Colin is fearful for the coming months.

He said: “It is going to be bad this winter. We are getting ready. but we get no support from the council or government.”

He said around 90% of what we get is public donations and from business.

Colin added: “How can you ignore this?”

Often the same people return for help and many taking the food back to families. 

Colin said: “Sometimes there are children with their parents. Last week there was a mother with a child in a pram in the queue.”

Amid it all, Danny White-Howe has set up his barber chair on the street and his doing free haircuts. The chair is never empty.

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He’s here every week giving up a Friday night to cut hair for people who couldn’t otherwise afford to visit the barbers.

“Aye, he’s a good man”, says Steven in the chair.

As well as people coming to them, they go out to where the people are.

Chris Rowan, from Clydebank is leading one of two teams doing the city centre rounds with trolleys.

He said: “We take hot meals, coffee and hats and gloves round.”

He also carries Naloxone, the overdose reversal.

The charity is not short of volunteers

Tonight, there is a group of pupils from Greenfaulds Secondary in Cumbernauld.

Chloe Newlands, 16, has been volunteering since January, and has been serving soup to people while they wait in the queue.

She said: “I give out the soup and water and just talk to people if that’s all they want. Some are regulars. I know how difficult it gets for people. People shouldn’t judge. Why not help out if you can.”

At 9.30pm it’s winding down under the bridge and the big clearing up operation starts.

It is not over yet because, later, the street team will go round the city centre on bikes after midnight, looking for rough sleepers to offer help, food and support.

Homeless Project Scotland food kitchen operates every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday under the bridge.