In the far corner of Cadoxton Primary School you will find a repurposed blue storage container full of fridges and shelves stacked neatly with tins and packets of surplus food that is being reused for a wholesome and creative purpose. You will also find an allotment and a communal area to sit and enjoy a drink, a meal or a chat
Hannah Cogbill started the Big Bocs Bwyd project in March 2020, and it eventually got off the ground in summer the same year with the aim being simple – give back to a community that needed help. 2 years later and the government has since helped to fund almost 70 Big Bocs Bwyd projects, all bespoke to their communities with a consistent quality.
Food poverty is an unfortunate reality in South Wales and in particular the area Cadoxton is based, with upwards of 70% of children relying on free school meals every single day. This reality is what led to Hannah starting the project, enabling children within the school to simultaneously learn about nutrition, cooking and the broader benefits of food whilst interacting with the members of the community – creating a link for them to develop their social and practical skills.
The focus was simple, if they could teach children to become food literate and understand the benefits of eating well, their prospects for the future could only improve, which is where the Junk Food Café comes into play. Each week, children from Cadoxton Primary School are given the opportunity to view the surplus food delivery in the café and create a recipe for a meal – the children are then taught how to cook the meal and serve it to the café’s visitors.
It was a mission to see a ‘community thriving, not surviving’ that led to the inception of Big Bocs Bwyd and Cadog’s Corner and a route towards addressing the hunger poverty in front of them. Through the café, teachers at Cadoxton are already seeing children’s ambitions and aspiration of ambitious careers run free which will only stand to benefit the community in the future.
An important feature to this project in particular was that the school has a much bigger purpose than just education – it is the place where the next generation is formed. Teaching the children to give back to the people and places they were raised.
Cadog’s does not simply benefit the children at Cadoxton but it gives a purpose to the volunteers who come to help – this was particularly clear when integration back into normality was an issue for many during the coronavirus pandemic. The café provided a safe space for those hesitant to leave their homes to safely return to a routine in their own time by volunteering and helping out.
To learn more about Big Bocs Bwyd projects near you visit: https://www.bigbocsbwyd.co.uk/