Pontypridd Foodbank was established in 2011 in response to the level of food poverty in the Pontypridd area and is part of the Trussell trust foodbank network. Our vision is to ensure that the local community has access to food, even when they are experiencing financial crisis and reduce the pressure between ‘paying the bills and eating’.
Interlink started working with us in the Spring of 2019 when we became increasingly concerned with the 45% increase in demand for our services over the previous year. This increase meant that the two parish churches involved in providing storage and collection points would struggle to accommodate the foodbank going forwards.
As volunteers we were very concerned about the increasingly urgent need to establish a more suitable fit for purpose facility to accommodate us. We also wanted to explore developing a dedicated venue to develop the foodbank into a pantry model which would include a kitchen and a wider range of produce available at an affordable price.
The main challenges we had in doing this were in knowing who to talk to, what to ask, how to present our case, and how to go about securing a new space. Interlink worked with us to host two food crises in summits in July and December 2019, which helped us to start having conversations with partners such as RCTCBC & Pontypridd Town Council.
And then early in 2020 our town was hit by flooding immediately followed by the Covid 19 Lockdown. Almost overnight we went from a relatively isolated foodbank struggling to meet a growing demand from the community. The two food crises summits which Interlink organised had helped us to forge a partnerships with other organisations and we were able to build on these and work closely together through these two emergencies and the further tripling of demand we faced.
Interlink continued to support the Pontypridd Foodbank helping to fund our running costs, and the running costs of Travol who agreed to deliver food packages in place of volunteers. The Town Council offered us the use of their fleet of vehicles and staff team to pick up food supplied from local supermarkets and the RCTCBC run emergency food hub.
Whilst we are all a very committed group of volunteers we would have struggled to do this if we had not had support from Interlink to establish a strong volunteer voice with these partners. It was having this voice that meant than when we spoke about the food poverty crises taking place in our community, they not only listened, they responded!
Pontypridd Foodbank volunteer Liz will be live on GTFM with DJ Gareth Williams on Thursday 4th June @ 11.15