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Barry primary school who setup ‘pay-as-you-feel’ shop heading to Royal Welsh Show

The Big Bocs Bwyd initiative operates a 'pay as you feel' food shop from shipping containers outside primary schools.

A primary school in Barry that set up a ‘pay-as-you-feel’ food, uniform, and launderette shop to support struggling families is in the running for a global education prize. Cadoxton Primary is one of six schools in the UK that is in the top 10 shortlist for the T4 Education World’s Best School prizes, and the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society is proud to be welcoming them to the Royal Welsh Show later this month.

The Royal Welsh Show, which takes place on the 24th – 27th of July, attracts over 200,000 visitors across four days to come together and celebrate the best of Welsh and British agriculture. New for 2023, the RWAS is launching the Welsh Food Village called Gwledd/Feast which will feature the finest Welsh food and drink together with a live music stage and seating for over 500 visitors. Food is a key element to the event and building on the success of the popular Food Hall, the new food village is set to be a great new attraction.

Within the new Welsh Food Village, the show organisers are working with the charity, Big Bocs Bwyd (Big Food Box). The charity’s aim is to ensure that no child is hungry and that every child is able to learn how to make good food choices that enable them to thrive. Big Bocs Bwyd operate ‘pay as you feel’ food banks at around 50 primary schools across Wales where they promote healthy diets and deliver cooking and vegetable growing lessons.

The scheme was initiated at Cadoxton Primary School, in the seaside town of Barry, south Wales where children and parents first opened the food shop in June 2020 in a shipping container outside of the school community centre. Cadoxton Primary School has been able to assist over 60 other schools across Wales in setting up their own Big Bocs Bwyd shops to help struggling families.

The winners of the five World’s Best prizes – for community collaboration, environmental action, innovation, overcoming adversity, and supporting healthy lives – will each receive 50,000 US dollars (£40,000).

In partnership with the Royal Welsh Show, Big Bocs Bwyd containers and children from six primary schools will be at the Show to promote their actions, and how they are working with partners including Welsh Government and Public Health Wales to address food inequality and poor diet.

The collaboration involves independent food wholesaler, Castell Howell. Now celebrating its 35-year anniversary, Castell Howell Foods was founded by then dairy farmer Brian Jones, a former RWAS President, and is firmly rooted in agriculture and community with a strong charitable ethos.

Castell Howell supplies 1500 schools across Wales and feels a responsibility to the communities it serves to help address food inequalities. Corporate Social Responsibility manager, Edward Morgan, has been profoundly moved by his experience with Big Bocs Bwyd and is enthusiastic about bringing the Big Bocs Bwyd charity to the Royal Welsh Show.

“Against a backdrop of dialogue for sustainable agriculture, environmental concerns, supply chain challenges, food inequalities, ‘influencers’ and the urgent need to promote the food sector as a career choice, there has arguably never been a more important time for Welsh agriculture to reclaim some of the lost narrative on food production and dietary choices.

“Child food inequality and poor diets are chronic problems in Wales. Many in the agricultural sector are somewhat removed from challenges faced by some of our urban communities, likewise many from our towns and cities are very much removed from agriculture and growing food. This is one reason why we’re supporting Y Big Bocs Bwyd charity.”

RWAS Chief Executive Aled Rhys Jones is keen to bring fresh elements to the Show whilst keeping the traditional values and charitable objectives of the Society. Collaborating with Big Bocs Bwyd in the new Welsh Food Village is a fantastic way of achieving this.

“With Glamorgan being the Royal Welsh Show’s feature county this year, it is wonderful to have a school from the county taking such a prominent role at this year’s show. I have been hugely impressed by the work of Cadoxton School and they are very worthy of the international recognition they have gained. Combining food with education is an effective way of promoting healthier diets and I am looking forward to their programme of food demonstrations on the new entertainment stage at the food village.” said Aled Rhys Jones.