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Top brand paint at £2 a litre and £4 weekly food bags: CoStar’s second base makes it easier for residents to save money

A Cwmbran charity that has been running projects and services in the town for 22 years has opened a second office. CoStar’s new community hwb in Fairwater Shops sees an expansion of the services it runs from its other home at the Threepenny Bit hall in Greenmeadow.

The new base will make it easier for residents to benefit from CoStar’s popular schemes:

  • Paint- CoStar gets donations of paint from some big UK brands. Prices start at £2 a litre which means you could ‘paint a room for less than £15’. It saves paint from going to landfill.
  • Food bag scheme- Anyone who lives in Cwmbran can benefit from a low-cost bag of groceries each week for just £4. The contents vary every week and everyone is eligible. A bag includes chilled items, fresh fruit and veg, tins and packets. The money helps residents save money on their food shop, stops food being thrown away and supports CoStar’s other services.
  • Crisis bags- The team prepare a bag of essentials to ‘get you through a few days’.

At the opening ceremony, Cwmbran Life chatted to Samantha Lowery, development co-ordinator at the CoStar Food Hwb. She said: “By taking on another site we can grow the project. Our £4 a week membership bag, which is a bag of fresh produce, some store cupboard items and some fresh items is for anybody in Cwmbran to join. It’s not means-tested. It’s to help people but also to save food from going to landfill.

“Our other project is a crisis bag scheme. Anyone in need can come along and that’s not even limited to Cwmbran. We will provide them with an emergency crisis bag to see them through a few days. It will include toiletries, cleaning products. We’ve even got clothing if anybody needed anything like that.

“We are very open to ‘if you need something come and ask’ and we will try our very best to help you and point you in the right direction of people who can support you for your actual needs.

“We’ve been running a long time. We’ve got the experience, we know what we’re doing and we’re here to help so please just come and ask.”

To join the £4 a week grocery bag scheme go to the shop and just bring proof of address to show you live in Cwmbran. For a crisis bag you don’t need any proof.

Lynne Howles, from CoStar, said: “We’ve been running our food project at the Threepenny Bit since 2014 and it’s just become more and more popular. We were finding that the space was limited so started looking for another site and this one has been empty for some time. We thought Fairwater Shops is local, it’s in the heart of the community with people passing by all the time so seemed like an ideal location. We approached the council and managed to get it set up.”

She said they were hoping to get more local partner organisations using CoStar to bring services closer to residents.

Photos from Fairwater’s CoStar Hwb

Donation table

Just inside the entrance is a table of tins, boxes and jars You can pop in and pick up any item and just make a donation to CoStar

a table of tins and jars
The CoStar donation table

Opening hours of CoStar’s Fairwater Hwb

The shop is open from Monday to Friday, 10am to 2pm.

Councillors from Torfaen County Borough Council and Cwmbran Community Council attended the opening to show their support. Cllr Mandy Owen, Greenmeadow Ward, said a few words of thanks for the work of CoStar and support from the community. Community Cllr Anthony Bird, chair of Cwmbran Community Council cut the ribbon.

Earlier this year Cwmbran Community Council gave a £2,500 grant from its anti-poverty budget to CoStar’s new hwb to fund:

  • a freezer- £500
  • a fridge- £150
  • a fling Cabinet- £150
  • roll cages for food- £200
  • CCTV- £500
  • a printer- £500
  • signage- £250
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Top brand paint at £2 a litre and £4 weekly food bags: CoStar’s second base makes it easier for residents to save money

group of people
The opening of the CoStar Hwb in Fairwater Shops