When local business Milwyn Jenkins & Jenkins offered to pass on goods donated for an Aberystwyth food bank to Llanidloes Covid-19 Support Group, set up by Alison Bryan & Clare Bound. With Powys Safety Solutions offering storage in the foyer of the old Llanidloes Post Office, regular donations soon started to come in. Like the famous quote from the movie ‘Jaws’, “We’re gonna need a bigger boat,” it quickly became obvious that the foyer wasn’t big enough to accommodate all the food being offered, and the old Post Office counters space was soon set up with spare desks and tables. The task of learning how to run a food bank then began.
As Adele Foster explained, ‘Instead of ‘food bank’ we decided to use a friendlier, less inhibitive name, so Llani Pantri was born.’ The moment was marked by the erection of a cost-effective DIY sign at the beginning of May – nothing fancy, but it does the job!
The food bank is not just supplying food & household items to people in need of support in the Llanidloes area, it also plays host to home-made cloth face-coverings, generously made by local crafts-people. Right from the start, in addition to in-kind donations, the Pantri began to receive monetary gifts - both through the Llani Pantri letterbox and into the online Llanidloes Mutual Aid Fund set up by the Covid 19 Support Group.
Support for the initiative has been wide ranging. As Adele explains, ‘Whilst waiting for our Food Share application to be processed, our local Co-Op store thought about us when they had some unexpected extra supplies of fresh foods available. We are also grateful for the support of other local businesses and agencies throughout the coronavirus crisis so far. Llanidloes Rotary Club have supported us very generously, gathering together an amazing donation of goods.’
The food bank is now also receiving a significant financial contribution of £1,500 from Innology Renewables, through funding designed to support the communities in which they have an office base.
PAVO’s Community Connector Claire Powell has also contributed £1,000 from the Covid-19 C SERT Fund.
Further developments around the provision of fresh food has seen the installation by a local tradesman of an upcycled planter. Using donated plants from volunteers & friends, the planter has already produced salad leaves, fresh herbs, spinach & kale. The plan is for courgettes, cucumbers & tomatoes to follow.
Nor is it just about food – the Pantri has shared its space so that the local school hub & parents could drop-off and collect activities for children too. The Pantri is becoming a community hub in these Covid 19 times, with things like artwork displayed for the Llanidloes Rotary Club's recent key worker artwork competition, and hosting a noticeboard advertising work, volunteering & training opportunities.
Adele continued, ‘We have been amazed by the way others have thought about how they could help us. Newly-opened Aisha’s Cafe & Restaurant decided to turn a large bag of couscous into a fabulous free-meal event for the Llani Pantri clients. Twenty delicious Mediterranean-style meals were delivered with the help of a fantastic team of volunteers.’
And so to the future. The Pantri would like to be able to continue helping those in need of support for as long as the pandemic and its economic after effects last. The team behind the Pantri know how much that support is appreciated and how it is helping people to weather the current crisis. In conclusion, with the ongoing support of the people and organisations in and around Llanidloes, this impromptu community initiative should help to ensure that no one in the area need go without, whatever their circumstances.If you would like to contribute to the ongoing work of Llani Pantri, then please make a donation to the Llanidloes Mutual Aid Fund. The fund can be accessed through the website of the Llanidloes Covid 19 Support group at www.llanic19.co.uk