VOLUNTEERS in Fairwater have come together to keep the area’s Food Co-op open after funding ran out.
The co-op provides people with bags full of healthy food including locally-grown fruit and vegetables at an affordable price.
It had been running for over five years with cash from the Welsh Government and support from local volunteers, but the funding was cut earlier this year.
Undeterred, the volunteers were not put off and have now taken over the service themselves.
Led by Ron Morgan, 73, the nine volunteers meet at St Peter’s Church every Friday to distribute the bags of fresh food to Fairwater residents.
Mr Morgan, who has been volunteering since the project first started, said: “People come from all over Fairwater from lots of different backgrounds. It helps people get their five a day. The food is of the highest quality and is sourced from local farms. Except the Kiwi fruit, that doesn’t grow round here.”
Open every Friday afternoon, the co-op has become a hub of the community with residents coming in to chat as well as pick up their food for the week.
Marta Naumann, 33, is a regular customer. She said: “I have been coming here for four years because it is very affordable and I have a big family. If I have a complaint or problem there is always someone I can talk to.”
The project was funded by the Welsh Government’s Community Food Cooperative Programme through the Rural Regeneration Unit. It was due to stop in December 2014 but a six-month extension was announced with an additional £213,750 of funding provided until September this year. That funding is now over.
A statement from the Rural Regeneration Unit said: “We were funded by Welsh Government from 2014 to September 2015 to deliver the Community Food Co-operative Programme across Wales. That programme has now ended and we have been tasked to deliver a greatly reduced targeted sustainability project in some areas of Wales.”
Despite the lack of funding the Fairwater Food Co-op has gone from strength to strength in the last two months. It now averages over 60 bags a week and offers vegetable, salad, stir fry and fruit bags for £3 and a stew bag for £2.