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“It just went boom!” How Llantarnam’s first food bank quickly grew to help the community

Staff at the food bank
(l to r) David Phillips, chair of governors, Emily Boshein, the school's nurture lead and Laura Perrett, headteacher

Volunteers, teachers, children and residents in Llantarnam teamed up to set up the area’s first food bank to give out “kindness parcels” to anyone who needs one.

This weekend- Saturday 13 March 2021- Llantarnam Community Primary School is open for people to pop in and collect a parcel.

The scheme started in the school for parents but the team quickly wanted to widen it to help people who live in their community but don’t have links to the school. It kicked off with donations being accepted at the school gates.

David Phillips, chair of governors, said: “We said that if you’re out on your daily walk you can put stuff in the baskets outside the school. We were overwhelmed. It has gone so much quicker than we expected. It just went ‘boom!’.”

Laura Perrett, headteacher, said: “There was nothing within walking distance and we had seen a growing need. We wanted to widen it to the local community as we didn’t want it to be school-based. We don’t know all the people like senior citizens and people who are struggling. ”

Food bank donations
Food bank donations in Llantarnam Community Primary School

The school contacted Laura Gregson, a parent volunteer, who was involved in Llantarnam’s Tin on the Wall and they joined forces. Tin on the Wall is where people leave a donation outside their house and it’s collected for food parcels.

David said: “She had an army of 14 volunteers. Fourteen cars arrived full of donations. That’s where it blew up completely.” The school was opened up and the hundreds of tins, packets and parcels were put on new shelve units on a corridor.

To build closer links with the community they doing a trial by funding a part-time family liaison officer. Teaching assistant Emily Boshein is already a familiar face in and around the classrooms as the school’s nurture lead. Ms Perrett said: “She turns up on doorsteps and they are happy to see her.”

Food bank donations

Mr Phillips was buzzing when he explained that the first home deliveries of parcels were made on Monday 8 March by Emily and  local councillor Dave Thomas- who were “overwhelmed by the response.”

Businesses have made cash donations and the team are now planning to include fresh items like vegetables and milk in their “kindness parcels”.

Open day at the school

Anyone is welcome to visit the school on Saturday 13 March 2021 from 11am to 1pm to collect a “kindness parcel”.

Do you need a parcel?

Don’t worry if you can’t make the open day on Saturday. The open days are being trialled but donations are still being given out each week. Email LlantarnamCPS@torfaen.gov.uk or call 01633 480039.

Ms Perrett wanted to thank the help and support they had been given from Sara Roberts at Coed Eva Primary School who shared their experiences of a similar project.

Staff at the food bank
Piles of ‘kindness parcels’ ready to be collected
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“It just went boom!” How Llantarnam’s first food bank quickly grew to help the community