Community rallies around after food bank closure

When the Conwy Food Bank had to close at the start of Covid-19, Conwy Valley Rotary Club knew they had to do something to meet the need.

The result was the club joined forces with social enterprise Golygfa Gwydyr in Llanrwst to launch a joint initiative called the Conwy Valley Temporary Assistance Fund (CVTAF). 

Initial assistance was provided via food and utility vouchers but after being awarded £7,500 by the Steve Morgan Foundation Covid-19 Emergency Fund the group started delivering food parcels to those in most financial hardship.

Conwy Valley Rotary Club’s treasurer and chairman of trustees Roger Thomas said it had been a huge team effort.

“When Covid-19 struck the local food bank in Conwy had to close temporarily because their premises were not suitable for social distancing,” said Roger. “In addition a number of their volunteers were in their 70s and they were being advised to shield. At the same time the number of food donations dropped at a time when they had never been more needed.

“Initially we started offering food vouchers and utility vouchers but then we received donations from three local, food retailers and were in a position to hand out food.”

They quickly received referrals from Conwy County Council, the Family Centre in Llanrwst, housing associations and the local churches.

It was at this point the group applied to the Steve Morgan Foundation for financial help to buy more food.

“I submitted the application on the Monday and we received the first instalment on the Wednesday,” said Roger. “It was that fast.

“We were able to start delivering food on May 19th to people who were in financial trouble. The tourism and hospitality sectors are really important in Conwy Valley and they’ve been badly hit by Covid-19 so a lot of people have lost their job or been furloughed.”

The group is currently working with 30 families and a women’s refuge and demand is growing all the time.

“The food parcels we deliver range from a £40 single person’s parcel to a family parcel worth £90,” said Roger. “We know we’re making a big difference and we’re completely run by volunteers, who collect the food and deliver it.”

The scheme was due to end at the end of July but plans are afoot to extend the programme until the Autumn.

Steve Morgan, founder of the Steve Morgan Foundation, said: “Covid-19 has caused a lot of financial hardship and this is another great example of the community rallying round to support the most vulnerable people in society.”

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