PATCH is a charity that aims to relieve the adverse effects of poverty for individuals and families based in Pembrokeshire. PATCH focuses on helping people who find themselves in a position of financial hardship for a variety of reasons such as a delay in benefits, fire, theft or marriage breakdown. The charity works with a referral agency who refers a person in financial hardship to PATCH and issues them with a voucher that they can exchange for a food parcel, clothing, household item, toiletries, cleaning products and other necessary items. The charity also runs a Christmas toy appeal and pet bank which helps people in financial hardship support their animals. Before COVID-19 the charity was also offering a hairdressers for those who could not afford to get their haircut.
Due to COVID-19 the charity closed down 4 out of 5 of its bases and is now making up the parcels and delivering them to help maintain social distancing. FareShare Cymru supported PATCH for 3 months during the COVID-19 lockdown. At the start we collaborated with Castell Howell who helped to get the food from the warehouse to PATCH. The British Red Cross then took over this role and continued helping with the deliveries to PATCH.
FareShare Cymru provided PATCH with fresh and ambient food. Bakery products such as bread were particularly popular as they could be used for a whole host of matters, including making sandwiches for children’s school lunches for those who did not quite meet the criteria for free school meals. Tinned foods are also very popular, especially tinned meats, meat meals and spaghetti.
“The food FareShare provided was unbelievable and made the biggest difference. The variety was lovely and very good quality. It was just incredible and benefitted us so, so much”
Several of PATCH’s clients suffer from poor mental health and the food that PATCH provides makes a huge difference to this. Many worry about not being able to feed their children which takes an extra toll on parents mental health. Another problem PATCH’s clients often arrive with is obesity because they have to rely on less nutritious, cheaper food such as pre-cooked meals, chocolate and biscuits.
“The fresh fruit and vegetables that we receive makes a huge difference to our clients wellbeing and their mental health, so we are very grateful for that”
Although PATCH has been receiving more food since COVID-19 as a result of extra grants and their partnership with FareShare they have also seen a 100% increase in referrals so the demand for the service is greater than ever.
Tracy from PATCH says that “although the surplus food should not be needed and its disappointing that some food can quite literally save peoples lives she is happy that PATCH is able to access food and get it to those who need it as it helps them so much”
We are so proud to be able to help vulnerable people as far out as Pembrokeshire, especially during the pandemic. None of it would be possible without the amazing work of our volunteers and the help of Castell Howell and the Red Cross, so thank you!