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Foodbank recipients now volunteer to help community

Former foodbank recipients are now turning to volunteering to help others though the coronavirus crisis.

AlanCram

Those behind Clydach Foodbank say that this illustrates the local spirit helping to keep families on track.

As the pandemic struck, the service - part of the Swansea Foodbank network and the nationwide Trussell Trust - has risen to the new challenge.

Clydach Foodbank coordinator Alan Cram said: "Some of our volunteers are former recipients of food bank support - they want to give something back to the community. I think this shows how effective and valued these services are.

"The whole project and the foodbank depend on our wonderful volunteers who come from our local communities, including Clydach, Craigcefnparc and Glais.

"They're mainly retired people but not exclusively - and we even have a waiting list for volunteering here.

"The foodbank is open Tuesday mornings, and is staffed by a team leader and colleagues who - in more normal times - talk to clients, pack food for them and have a cup of tea with them.

"In these days of social distancing, of course, we've had to stop the cuppa and chat - that's a shame because it's an opportunity for us to point them in the direction of other support services."

As well as the Clydach area, the service helps people in the wider Swansea area and into Neath Port Talbot.

Alan said: "With the coronavirus outbreak we're seeing an increase in the number of people asking for food. Some have lost their jobs, of course, and the idea of a foodbank is to get people through an emergency or crisis.

"The community is being incredibly supportive - that's everybody from the churches and chapels through to individuals including some who kindly collect goods on behalf of their own community.

"We're totally dependent on donations from local people and organisations; Swansea Council and Clydach Community Council are very good at the moment in providing lots of food for us.

"There's tremendous community spirit here - not only people willing to volunteer but also people so willing to provide food for us on a regular basis."

Clydach Foodbank is part of a network of community foodbanks across Swansea helping to support families in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

Swansea Council has been supporting foodbanks with supplies to ensure they are able to cope with the increased demand, and has set up four food distribution sites in community centres across the city.

Andrew Stevens, a Swansea Council cabinet member for better communities, said: "People across our communities need foodbanks and I know they appreciate the important support they're being offered.

"Clydach Foodbank is doing a fine job on behalf of its communities - I applaud the efforts of its donors, supporters, volunteers and organisers. They're all here for Swansea."

The Clydach Foodbank is based at the Ty Croeso community project, in High Street, Clydach. It's open for collections on Tuesdays from 10am-noon.

Members of the public can drop off donations on Tuesdays from 9.30am-noon or at other times by prior arrangement.

For further information contact the foodbank - 07815 534095, info@swansea.foodbank.org.uk.

Picture: Clydach Foodbank coordinator Alan Cram.

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