This summer, young people from across Cardiff have been helping alleviate food insecurity whilst gaining lifelong skills.
The Summer of Picnics project is run by the Tremorfa Pantry funded by the Flourish team from the Cardiff Community Housing Association (CCHA).
The project receives surplus food from FareShare Cymru, is sorted by a group of young people and then distributed to various families and community groups for picnics.
Originally put together three years ago by a group of young people with learning difficulties to help them socialise, it’s now grown to include young people from across the community.
The idea to provide people with picnic food was fueled by the news about summer food poverty.
The young people were really concerned. I couldn’t help them get their heads around the fact that young people would be struggling to have food on the table over the summer.Heather McDowell, development officer at Cardiff Community Housing Association, CCHA
The young people lead the project, doing everything from logging the food that they receive, working out the quantities, health and safety and baking.
The skillset that they get involved with, they’re unaware of, but you can see the improvement. Maths is one of the biggest ones. We could get boxes of Skips crisps and there’s six in a packet and there are 80 boxes and we’ve got 50 families. There’s maths behind that and problem-solving. I’ve watched their confidence grow and working better together as a team.
We’ve had a couple of parents who’ve been told to sit in the cupboard and not butt in.Heather McDowell, development officer at Cardiff Community Housing Association, CCHA
This year, the Summer of Picnics has supported 50 picnics across Cardiff from play services, to faith groups to individual families.
One of the lads would come in and get the picnics ready. But then he was also involved with attending the picnics as a young person. The look of pride on his face was just an addition.
We’ve gathered a lot of feedback from families, and it’s just gorgeous. Really bringing communities together and really good produce. Some of it’s lasted beyond the picnic. FareShare has just been phenomenal at getting this gorgeous picnic food. Every week has been so appropriate and just lovely.Heather McDowell, development officer at Cardiff Community Housing Association, CCHA
The project also helped build a sense of community between the young people. They put on a market that raised £300 for Afghan refugees and the CCHA took them to Barry Island funfair to say thank you.
One particular lad had never been on the rides and was saying “we could never afford them as a family of five.” It was a particular treat and they appreciated it.Heather McDowell, development officer at Cardiff Community Housing Association, CCHA
The young people have plans for the rest of the year with ideas for a Halloween trail and talks of beating a World Record for the biggest ever tombola.