A charity for Colwyn Bay’s homeless is using cash confiscated from criminals to run weekly collections to supply local food banks during the coronavirus crisis.
The Kind Bay Initiative’s volunteers are collecting over 100 donations every Sunday evening with hundreds of tins and packets of food being left out for pick up.
The community interest company, which provides help and advice for the town’s homeless and rough sleepers, received a massive boost thanks to a £2,500 cheque from North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones.
The money comes from his Your Community Your Choice initiative, supported by the North Wales Police and Community Trust (PACT), which this year has handed out over £45,000 to local organisations voted for by over 10,000 people across North Wales.
But social distancing imposed by the coronavirus lockdown has meant the charity has had to think outside the box and they came up with the Tin on the Doorstep scheme and it’s really taken off.
Donors log onto the Kind Bay Initiative Facebook page, check the postcodes being collected from that Sunday and post their address and postcode for the team of volunteers in their distinctive T-shirts to collect between 6 and 8pm.
The Kind Bay Initiative received their award at a special ceremony at Eirias Park, Colwyn Bay, when Conwy County’s other winners were Llanfairfechan Foodbank, £2,500, and Antioch@Capel Salem’s @20 project, £1,000, to provide support for vulnerable young people in Colwyn Bay.
KBI chair Helen Robinson said: “We felt we needed to do more to help the homeless in the town in the current situation.
“They can have problems getting enough food at the best of times but people have been so generous. It’s becoming a real community event now each Sunday and we’ve got seven drivers out collecting and we supply several food banks in Conwy.
“We’re talking about non-perishable items so tins and packets of food and if the householders notify us we will pick them up, there’s no need to hand it over, just leave the garden gate open and our T-shirts show we are genuine.
“Recently the food banks said they were really struggling for long life milk and we were deluged with over 60 cartons and we’ve also had a great response when we asked for egg boxes.
“People are so kind and we’re also getting donations of treats for NHS and care staff and children have been putting in cards and notes as well.”
North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones said: “This is a great project by the Kind Bay Initiative who have adapted what they do to the change of circumstances caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“They have really struck a chord with their community and that’s shown by the amazing response they have received from local people and I am delighted that my Your Community Your Choice fund is getting projects like this off the ground.”
Details of each Sunday’s postcode collections are posted on the KBI Facebook page during the preceding week and donors can reply giving their house number, street and post code.
All the information as well as more details are available there at https://www.facebook.com/thekindbayinitiative/
KBI are based at Dewi Sant Church, in Rhiw Road, Old Colwyn and Helen added: “We started just looking after rough sleepers but now we have ex-prisoners, substance miss-users, people with learning difficulties, it doesn’t really matter we want to be there for everyone that needs help.
“What is really important is that we bring the community together and break down those barriers.”
The Your Community Your Choice awards are now in their seventh year and much of over £300,000 handed out to deserving causes in that time has been recovered through the Proceeds of Crime Act, using cash seized from offenders with the rest coming from the Police and Crime Commissioner.
The scheme is aimed at organisations who pledge to run projects to tackle anti-social behaviour and combat crime and disorder in line with the priorities within the Police Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan.
Arfon Jones added: “This unique fund allows our communities to decide which projects should get financial support through our on-line voting system and the response has seen almost 10,000 members of the public vote for a range of projects.
“They help to support my Police and Crime Plan whose purpose is to ensure that North Wales Police is paying specific attention to those points which have been identified as crucial by the public, me and indeed by the force itself.”
For more information on the work of the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office go to https://www.northwales-pcc.gov.uk/en/home.aspx