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1,000 volunteers join Together for Cardiff

Claudia Apopii checks a food parcel list at Cardiff's food bank before it goes out to the community. Photo credit: Matthew Horwood

The Together for Cardiff volunteer force is now a 1,000-strong group of residents from across the city who have pledged to give their time and services to help people in need during the COVID-19 emergency.

In only two weeks, the scheme has been flooded with offers of support and assistance as the city gets to grips with the challenges presented by the Coronavirus crisis and seeks to ensure that vulnerable people are able to get the provisions and support they need at this difficult time.

Hosted on the Volunteer Cardiff website, Together for Cardiff acts as abrokering service, matching people who want to help with volunteering opportunities across the city. Those looking for support can also search for help in their local area on the site.

Many of these volunteers are supporting the work of council teams, to provide essential services for those in need during this difficult time.

Since launching on March 20, the scheme’s web page has been visited more than 42,100 times and 1,026 individuals have now registered to do what they can to help others during the outbreak.

As well as the website, the Council’s Adviceline has taken 2,181 calls from individuals who need of help to get essential items.

Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, said: “The response to Together for Cardiff has been nothing short of staggering and it is simply wonderful to see people around our city prepared to go out of their way to help others. My heartfelt thanks go to each and every one of you doing such an amazing job.

“The Council is now co-ordinating huge operations to help people in need. Volunteers from among our staff and the community are supporting people who are struggling to buy food because of the impact the emergency has had on their finances, as well as those who cannot get out and about themselves to shop because they are self-isolating.

“Many council staff from various departments have been redeployed in to our food strategy operations, collecting food donations, picking and packing food and distributing them to hubs and to people’s homes. I want to pay tribute to their tireless efforts too as together with our volunteers, we all seek to make sure our fellow citizens have what they need to get through this. Thank you.

“We’re also very grateful to the businesses who have supported us with donations and are keen to work with more organisations who can support us.”

Part of the council’s work involves supporting Cardiff Foodbank and emergency food parcels are available for people without funds at four hubs in the city, Ely & Caerau, St Mellons, The Powerhouse in Llanedeyrn and Central Library Hub. More than 134 parcels have been collected from these hubs in the last two weeks while almost 1,000 food and essentials parcels have been delivered to households who are self-isolating and can’t afford to buy essentials and have no family or support network to help them.

The support available is as follows, depending on an individual/family’s needs.

People NOT self-isolating without funds

  • Call Adviceline 029 2087 1071 or visit Cardiff Foodbank website https://cardiff.foodbank.org.uk/ for information on how to obtain a Cardiff Foodbank voucher. Organisations who hold vouchers are listed on the site, as well as locations where food parcels can be collected
  • Emergency food parcels can also be collected from four hubs – Ely & Caerau, The Powerhouse in Llanedeyrn, St Mellons, and Central Library Hub. Anybody who attends a hub will be contacted by the Adviceline to discuss the root cause of a parcel being required and to offer support with benefit enquiries etc.

People self-isolating with funds

  • Meals on Wheels(If required criteria are met) Prices start from £3.90 Tel: 02920 537 080 Email:[email protected]
  • Visit the Together for Cardiff pages on the Volunteer Cardiff Website
    www.volunteercardiff.co.uk  Click on ‘Find Help Near Me’ and then select area and type of help needed. A range of local groups/ businesses will be displayed which they can then contact directly for help.
  • For those without internet access or for further info, call the Adviceline who will signpost people to approved local support groups 02920 871 071

People self-isolating without funds

  • Call or email Adviceline  on 02920 871 071 or [email protected] for delivery of food/ essential items parcel. Foodbank voucher will be ‘virtually’ completed by staff for customers
A food delivery left at the door of a family who are self-isolating in Cardiff. Photo credit: Matthew Horwood

Cllr Thorne added:”People receiving our help appreciate this work so much.  After receiving a parcel, one client took the time to call the team to say thank you and what a fantastic job they are all doing. He told us it was the sixth anniversary of his wife’s death andthat he’d been struggling lately, but  said the support he received was first class. Feedback like that is priceless and makes everyone realise just how vital the work we’re doing is.”