Casllwchwr Food Share
During the second lockdown of 2020 to 2021, a member of our school staff approached the Headteacher to explore the possibility of establishing a Food Bank. Following a great deal of research and discussions with representatives of the Governing Body and Local Authority, we decided to open a ‘Food Share’ for the community of Loughor. The reason for this was simple – we are passionate about our community and we feel that our school should be at the heart of everything that we do – a safe place and a place, which supports the public, not just those who attend or are linked to the school. One of our fantastic Teaching Assistants has been the driving force behind the scheme and has fostered links with local supermarkets, businesses and members of our school community to make the scheme self-sufficient and sustainable. School staff have supported Miss Gale in running the ‘Food Share’ along with the Headteacher, Office Manager and Chair of Governors. The ‘Food Share’ has weekly donations from the community and seasonal events such as Harvest, Christmas and Easter are key to replenish non-perishable foodstuffs, toiletries and other essential items. We also have a very small number of local benefactors who contribute financially to this community project - without this support, the facility would simply be unsustainable.
Initially, the ‘Food Share’ was run from the school between the hours of 4 and 5pm every Thursday evening. The Food Share has since evolved and we have been fortunate to secure a time slot in Jireh, a local church on Castle Street. We have also integrated the children in to marketing and advertising the ‘Food Share’ but putting up posters and writing sections for our newsletter. The impact on the whole community has been tremendous and we are able to help a growing number of families on a weekly basis who have been hit hard by the collateral damage that COVID has caused on their health, opportunities and employment. Miss Gale and volunteers from school also assist some families and individuals who have mobility issues by delivering essential items and food directly to their homes. The service is extremely discreet and there is no set criteria for accessing the support.
Many of our families are too proud to ask for help – we have therefore taken it upon ourselves to drop items off to families identified. These have included Christmas hampers made up of donations from our school staff; a van full of toys, games, clothes and other age appropriate items, which have been accessed through the Mr X appeal, donations from staff and members of the community. Several families where supported and children were able to have a lovely Christmas which they potentially would not have had without the support of the school, its staff and the community.
We are very lucky to have such dedicated, selfless and empathetic staff who always go over and above to support others. Miss Gale and the staff especially deserve a great deal of praise for everything that they do to ensure that those in need receive support when they need it. If you wish to access our Casllwchwr Foodshare, please contact us at school or simply come to see us at Jireh Church on Castle Street, Loughor, between 5 and 6pm every Thursday evening.