Six Labour Councillors in five connected wards have come together to ensure the much-needed Gorseinon and Llwchwr Food Hub has been running efficiently throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
The Six – Kelly Roberts (Gorseinon), Jan Curtice and Andrew Stevens (Penyrheol), Will Evans (Kingsbridge), Christine Richards (Lower Loughor), Robert Smith (Upper Loughor) – each donated £500 from their community budgets to a St Catherine’s Church ‘Food with Friends’ fund.
Alongside the dedicated volunteers, the Rev Adrian Morgan and donors, a major key to the success of the Food Hub has been the councillors’ cash injection of £3,000, which has been integral to the creation of the hub and its ongoing work during Covid-19.
As well as that local business, Town Councils and communities also raised money, and a group called On the Wall: Gorseinon and Llwchwr Food Hub have regularly driven around the area collecting donations.
“The Food Hub has been absolutely crucial during these times of lockdown when many people have been furloughed, who probably never dreamt they would ever need help from a foodbank or charitable donations,” said Cllr Roberts.
“Serving as community leaders is what being a Councillor is all about and if we weren’t doing what we could in times like these we wouldn’t have been doing what we were elected to do.
“I think I speak for all six of the councillors who have donated money from community budgets that it was an absolute no-brainer to help out with the food hub.
“These have been extraordinary times and l am proud of the way our communities have come together to help each other out.
“We launched as the pandemic struck and rose to the challenge of helping vulnerable families. We have turned nobody in need away and, for many weeks, undertook volunteer doorstep deliveries to shielding and self-isolating residents.”
The Food Hub stepped in after the Lime Street foodbank, founded by theTrussell Trust was forced to close temporarily due to the pandemic and is due to open soon. The Food Hub 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.
Labour Cllr Alyson Pugh, the council’s cabinet member for better communities, said: “People across our communities need foodbanks and other forms of support – and I know they appreciate the important support they’re being offered.
“Gorseinon and Llwchwr Food Hub is doing a fine job on behalf of its communities – as are other services. I applaud the efforts of donors, supporters, volunteers and organisers. They’re all here for Swansea.”
Ronan Ruddy, the council’s senior local area coordinator (LAC) for Gorseinon, Kingsbridge, Garden Village and Penyrheol, said: “The number of people who have come forward to assist their neighbours in a crisis has been a privilege to see.
“As LACs across Swansea, we’re only one part of the community response across the city, but we’ve been well placed to connect people in need of help with those offering to help.
“Whether that was with shopping, prescription pick-ups, emergency food provision or welfare calls, we’re thankful for all the selfless actions of community members who have helped alleviate some of the worst consequences of this global pandemic.”
The Gorseinon and Llwchwr Food Hub is based at St Catherine’s Church Hall, Princess Street, Gorseinon. It’s open for collections and donations on Tuesdays and Thursdays 10am-noon. As some residents coming out of shielding are still not comfortable leaving their homes, the service continues to do some deliveries.
Members of the public can drop off donations at the food bank Tuesdays and Thursdays 10am-noon.
For further information on the foodbank phone or email Ronan Ruddy – 07471 145353, Ronan.Ruddy@swansea.gov.uk.
- Swansea Council’s response to coronavirus – www.swansea.gov.uk/coronavirusadvice
MAIN CAPTION: L to R – Gloria Smith, Cllr Andrew Stevens, Cllr Jan Curtice, Shiela Thomas, Cllr Kelly Roberts, The Lord Mayor, Cllr Mark Child, Pam Morgan, Andy Evans