Big-hearted staff at a housing association have rallied to the cause of a food bank facing soaring demand because of rocketing prices.
Cartrefi Conwy has chosen the Colwyn Bay-based Conwy Food Bank as its designated charity and is stepping in immediately with a sponsored walk expected to raise over £3,000.
The food bank, based on Rhiw Road, has seen the need for its service surge by 50 per cent since the Government scrapped the £20 a week uplift on Universal Credit last autumn.
That has put more pressure on the charity which delivers parcels by van through its volunteer drivers from Monday to Friday and is keen to receive donations of food – apart from pasta – and toiletries to its headquarters.
Nancy Hughes, the Conwy Food Bank Co-ordinator for over three years, said the number of families with children receiving food parcels had doubled since September.
She said: “We’re so grateful to Cartrefi Conwy because we desperately need this help at a time when prices are going sky-high.
“Before the cut to Universal Credit we were helping 25 families with 50 children across Conwy County – last month we sent out 50 food parcels to families with a total of 110 children.
“In one month in the winter those figures were 52 families and 117 children but we are expecting the numbers to rise again in the autumn when heating bills start to rise again.
“Getting this support from Cartrefi Conwy, who act as one of our referral agencies, is so vital. It’s an absolute godsend.”
Dan Hall, Cartrefi Conwy’s Assistant Director of Neighbourhoods, said staff had chosen Conwy Food Bank as their new corporate charity and had set a target of £3,200 for their three-day, 66-mile Llŷn Peninsula Charity Walk which kicks off the fundraising activities on Thursday, July 7.
They are expecting about 20 staff on the walk along the spectacular route from Tudweiliog to Criccieth which will see them walk an average of 10 hours a day but other members of staff are also getting involved.
He added: “We want to get as many colleagues involved as we can and we’re challenging them to do the same distance between now and the date of the walk in July and record it on the app Map My Run.
“Cartrefi Conwy board members agreed to match 32p for every mile walked by staff.
“In total there are about 20 of us doing the walk with three or four more on the support team and we’ve arranged accommodation in holiday lets along the way.
“We asked staff which charity they wanted to support and there were a number of suggestions which we voted on and the Conwy Food Bank were clear winners with colleagues because of our historic relationship we’ve had since they were formed in 2011.
“In the current climate with the cost of living soaring we wanted to do something that could help support our tenants because people are having to choose whether to heat their homes or feed their families.”
Among those taking part again is Hannah Owens, from Old Colwyn, a property data and process co-ordinator.
She said: “We had awesome weather last time when we walked half way round Anglesey and I got a nice tan but I also lost four toe-nails.
“I’m looking forward to it though. It’s a good laugh and a chance to mix with some of the people in Cartrefi Conwy that we don’t usually work with – last time I walked with Andrew Bowden, the chief executive and we had a good chat.
“We all felt it was really important that we chose a local charity and the work of the Conwy Food Bank is something that really resonates with us all.”
It is the first of many charity events for the Conwy Food Bank, according to Dan, and Cartrefi Conwy have set a target to raise £8,500.