A NEW foodbank serving a cluster of communities near Wrexham will open this summer, says Clwyd South Assembly Member Ken Skates.
The Labour AM has been in talks with national charity the Trussell Trust for months about creating a centre to help feed some of the most vulnerable people in his constituency, and appealed in the Leader for help.
Semi-retired Ruabon businessman David Jones stepped forward, and a new ‘satellite’ centre will now open in mid-June to serve Penycae, Rhos and Johnstown and their surrounding villages.
Mr Skates said: “This is fantastic news for the area, and I am extremely grateful to David, Andrew Sturgess from the Trussell Trust and Wrexham Foodbank for getting what was a few months ago just an idea to this advanced stage.
“Sadly, more and more people across Wales are having to rely on foodbanks because of rising costs of fuel and energy bills, static income, high unemployment and changes to benefits. Some 13 million people are currently living below the poverty line in the UK and food poverty is rising, so foodbanks are playing a crucial role in helping some of our the most vulnerable people.
“It was recently reported in the Leader that almost 1,000 a month across Wrexham and Flintshire had used foodbanks in the past year – truly shocking figures. I hope this project – and other similar ones planned for Clwyd South – can go some way to addressing the impact locally of what is truly a national scandal.”
Mr Jones said the satellite foodbank will be based St Thomas Village Hall, Penycae, as an offshoot of Wrexham Foodbank, and is likely to be open from 10am-noon every Wednesday for clients to redeem the vouchers given to them by welfare agencies and health professionals for enough emergency supplies to last three days.
He said: “The finer details will have to be agreed, but the plan is that food parcels will be packed at the Wrexham Foodbank premises and I will personally transport required items to the Penycae satellite on a Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning.
“The village hall is ideally located on a major bus route, with direct buses passing from Wrexham via Rhostyllen, Johnstown, and Rhos. There is also plenty of parking nearby, so the satellite can easily serve the densely-populated villages of Rhos and Johnstown.”
There are currently almost 400 Trussell Trust foodbanks in operation nationwide, and the charity’s goal is for every town to have one.
Mr Jones, who is managing director of Wrexham-based Lyan Packaging Supplies, said: “This satellite foodbank would be the first to open in Clwyd South, and we will be interested in opening one or two more in what I would call the Dee Valley corridor between Plas Madoc and Corwen in due course.”
Mr Jones, who is also a former chairman of Ruabon Community Council, has already found a couple of willing volunteers for the Penycae project, but anyone else who wants to help can contact him on 07930501513.