Ely challenges poverty – Wednesday

Poverty A photo of Cardiff High Street
Photo by Taylor Floyd Mews on Unsplash
ViewsOctober 13th, 2021

Each day in Challenge Poverty Week, Nerys Sheehan from Action in Caerau and Ely describes her day at the Dusty Forge Community Centre. Here are her reflections on Wednesday. 

Wednesday already? Today we had 30 people in for pantry and delivered 10 pantry parcels. That’s 40 households accessing affordable food. As this is a membership scheme where members pay £5.00 per week for their choice of food, people feel happy coming and accessing it – they get about £20 of shopping. It isn’t a foodbank and neither is it charity. Food is bought in from Fareshare Cymru who provide heavily subsidised surplus food, which we can then offer to community members at this price.

Charging a membership fee takes away stigma, we really are just providing an alternative food service and helping reduce food waste, which can never be a bad thing. For lots of families this is a lifeline and really does help those in work and out of work make their money stretch that little bit further. We get a wide selection of quality food arriving weekly and some interesting products like camel milk! We are having some supply issues due to some of the wider problems with suppliers but Stacie, Sarah and the team are really creative and always looking to source some extra food.

Residents of Ely and Caerau can access this support by popping in and collecting an application form from reception. Foodbank absolutely has its place helping people in crisis and is needed now more than ever. We issue Foodbank vouchers and always try and encourage those accessing Foodbank to sign up for Pantry, as it’s a longer term sustainable solution to those facing food insecurity.

We are getting lots of people with concerns about their fuel costs. Today I supported 18 households access emergency support to ensure that they don’t lose their supply. I’m not sure about you but I have definitely noticed the temperature drop these last few days, heating or eating is a real life dilemma for so many. I’ve also done 12 applications for the Warm Home Discount, this is a £140 one off payment for those on low incomes to help towards energy costs. Its not something you get automatically and need to apply for each year. Not all suppliers offer it, but most do. Most schemes are open now and it can be done online. If you need a hand please let me know.

I had a meeting with the lovely Ruth McDonald from Save the Children, Ruth was able to allocate me some additional resources through the Emergency Response Fund to help families in need. It meant I could contact a young mum I am working with and get her some bunk beds for her growing children and some learning packs to support her children’s home learning and development. It is an absolute privilege to be part of the Save the Children partnership, we are all working towards one common goal and that is to help alleviate hardship and make home life less stressful.

Tomorrow is Thursday and my diary is full. Dale is busily putting up the bookshelf as we speak so our little library will be up and running, Café Barr will be open and more Pantry members will be in shopping. We will also be having a visit from Dr Steffan Evans from the Bevan Foundation. Steffan is a regular and very welcomed visitor here at the centre. We have done some really good collaborative work exploring peoples lived experiences when facing financial insecurity. He really listens to what’s happening on the ground and is a position to make sure peoples voices are heard.

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