We are delighted to announce that C3SC successfully administered the Food Poverty Fund on behalf of Cardiff Council, where organisations applied to C3SC based on the grant criteria set out, and as such, Glenwood Church were one of 17 successful applicants that were awarded £13,000 to develop and create the Food Pantry.
As a response to the COVID pandemic, Glenwood Church developed different models and stages of food provision in and for the local community, which involved food delivery, and pre- packaging the food parcels for our members.
From this, it was felt that a more sustainable model was needed for the community, so they decided to use an allocated room in their building for the sole use of the food-club. Their vision was to provide affordable and fresh produce within an area with high levels of food-poverty that allowed local community members to use and also take some ownership of. The vision was also to develop a community around healthy and sustainable food, to provide a space for healthy cooking, growing produce and developing relationships.
“We were able to open our doors for the first time on October 15th. We advertised to the people who had been receiving food parcels during COVID, many of whom have now visited the club on a regular basis. Since then we have opened every Friday and there has been new members joining every week.
One of the highlights has been ‘recipe of the week’ which aims to use surplus items in the pantry, and encourage members to try the recipe at home. Many of the members return the following week with pictures of what they have made, from home made pizza, and bread to home made soup or stew
Members are also encouraged to stay for a coffee and a snack after they have visited the food pantry and there is a real sense of community developing both amongst the members themselves and the volunteers, and other organisations that have visited – e.g., Cardiff parenting association, local police community support officers and a wellbeing choir. We are running a bereavement course in January and some of the club members who have been bereaved during COVID have signed up for the course.
We have developed some significant and crucial partners that help to support the work of the Food club. As well as a weekly pick up from FareShare for the bulk of our food for the pantry, we are also supported by Morrisons, who drop off food to us approximately once a month, and Cook – a local frozen meals supplier in Roath. They generously provide any meals that are slightly damaged that they are unable to sell, and these are very popular with our Food club members.”
Staff and Volunteers
There is a temporary pantry manager in post from October 2021, which has allowed the pantry to get up and running in these initial stages! Moving to a new ‘shop’ model has required more consideration of the processes and procedures involved, particularly as Glenwood Church still need to work within government guidelines for COVID-19 and the health and safety of all.
The pantry manager has also developed all of their Environmental Health and Food hygiene policies to ensure that all food handling procedures are within government guidelines. The pantry manager has been responsible for developing a team of volunteers – there has been a committed and loyal volunteer team each week who have been responsible for sorting and unpacking the weekly delivery of food, welcoming members to the space, managing the shop space and chatting with the members over coffee.
“Team training was a help at the beginning of October to ensure smooth running of the project and we also have Food hygiene training on Wed 1st December for all volunteers. The funding for the pantry manager will end in March 2022 and we are hopeful that more funding will be secured for the on-going support of the pantry.”
Food club members are invited to choose 16 different items of food from the pantry, to include bread, cereals, dairy produce, ambient goods, and fresh fruit and vegetables. As can be seen from the written feedback, members are grateful for the choice available to them at an affordable price.
Other benefits that have become evident are that of a sense of community developing, and a safe space for members, to have a coffee and chat, and nurture a sense of belonging for them in the community. From this there have been different ideas emerging of how this community could develop further – e.g., reusing and recycling clothes, sharing of ideas for recipes, more events for children, creating a WhatsApp group, etc.
“We have also been able to work closely with the local high school St Teilo’s who offer food support to families receiving free school meals – this usually lasts for 6 weeks so the school will then be able to refer these families to our food club.”