Wyndham Street Pantry in Cardiff opened in May 2020 to help relieve food poverty due to the Covid-19 crisis and supports people in the Cardiff and Vale area. For a weekly subscription of £5, members of the pantry are able to have access to food provided by FareShare Cymru, including fresh fruit, vegetables and store cupboard favourites that will often value £20 or more.
Many of the residents that the pantry supports are part of ethnic minorities and to many, English is their second language. Thus, although food is the main reason people visit the pantry, support such as translation services or referrals to relevant specialists are also offered to them. Recent support projects that took place at the pantry included English lessons, IT lessons as well as a planting/gardening workshop which allowed people to gain useful employability skills. Moreover, counselling for those grieving the loss of a loved one also took place at the pantry this year, offering much needed mental health support to people who wouldn’t normally have access to it. By providing these services alongside the pantry, food provided by FareShare Cymru has been able to bring the local community closer together.
Gillian is just one member who uses Wyndham Street Pantry to help support her family financially. Whilst Gillian’s husband works 16 hours a week, Gillian’s disabilities prevent her from working herself. She says that the food they receive weekly from the pantry “goes a long way” as she is able to not only feed herself and her husband with good quality food but also occasionally have some extra she can give to her daughter and her family.
The pantry has been a life saviour. It’s given us a boost, some of the stuff I would never buy because I wouldn’t be able to pay what the supermarkets charge. It has taken away the stress of ‘can we afford veg this week?’
Last week we were given fresh veg and I made a stew and it lasted us two days! The freezer stuff, the potatoes and the fish, you can’t buy that at the supermarket, it’s so expensive. Also, the tins we receive, you can do so much with them and store the extra.Gillian, Wyndham Street Pantry member
Talking about the pantry Gillian described how, along with coming to collect the food, the pantry provides an opportunity to socialise and has significantly benefited hers and her husband’s mental health.
It’s more than food. It’s feeding the mind. It’s like a social thing to come here. We have such diverse conversations. It can lift you for the week!Gillian
With the rising prices in supermarkets, Gillian isn’t the only one who’s struggling to afford basic necessities.
There are some people that take a choice between feeding their family or heating the house at the moment.
Without FareShare Cymru we just couldn’t do run the pantry. They provide the food and have all the logistical support. Without FareShare Cymru, 60 families in the area would struggle to afford food and some would either have bad quality food or not enough.Grant Cockerill, Renew Officer at South Riverside Community Development.
FareShare Cymru is proud to support services like Wyndham street pantry to operate, as the support offered, and the impact made is clearly “More than food”.