Families in Wales struggling to afford food this summer are being supported by cash grants from Western Power Distribution (WPD).

The electricity network operator has awarded grants totalling more than £25,000 from its Community Matters Fund to charities, local councils and community groups across South Wales to help families struggling to put food on the table.

It’s widely reported that children have been the most adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and that many families are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet due to the rising cost of living.

There is always higher demand at food banks during the school holidays, often from families that rely on term-time free school meals – and research in 2019 highlighted there were three million children at risk of ‘holiday hunger’.

Among the beneficiaries announced is the Llanhilleth Miners Institute, Blaenau Gwent, Newport’s Stow Park Community Centre and RCCG Vineyard Chapel, The Gathering Place in Swansea and is Glamorgan Voluntary Services (GVS), which is based in Llantwit Major.

The National Wales:

Hayley Davies, community engagement manager at the institute, pictured above, said: “The team at Llanhilleth Miners Institute is delighted to have received funding from Western Power Distribution.

“The money will be used to fund our Munch Bunch children's food activities during the six-week summer break.

“We will be able to provide a healthy breakfast for local children, while running exciting, healthy cookery sessions for families to learn new skills and master affordable, tasty recipes which they can make again at home.

“As a result, the funding from Western Power Distribution will have an impact on local children way beyond the end of the summer and we wouldn't be able to deliver this provision without their generosity.”

The National Wales:

Emmanuel Olu, from RCCG Vineyard Chapel, above, added: "This grant will make a huge difference in the lives of many that are in real need in our community.

“With our project (A "Can" can make a Difference), we aim to continue to make an impact by providing food parcel services to our community members (as many as possible) especially low-income families, asylum seekers and members with no recourse to public funds.

“We believe no matter how, no one, especially children, should ever go hungry.

“With the help of this funding, our project will continue to ensure we do our bit to curb food poverty.

“We are extremely grateful and would like to appreciate Western Power Distribution for their much-needed support. Thank you!”

Secretary and trustee of the Stow Park Community Centre, Willie Clason, said: “This funding will help us provide community lunches to people who are homeless, lonely and vulnerable.

“Once at the centre for lunch, community members will be able to socialise with other people in a safe, warm and clean environment and access information and support from our staff and volunteers”.

The National Wales:

Ken Arrigton, of The Gathering Place, above, added: "The generous grant from Western Power Distribution will make it possible for us to reach over 150 families suffering from ‘holiday hunger’ throughout Neath, Port Talbot and South Wales.

“As numerous regions in our service area fall within the most deprived in Wales, holiday closures of schools have a devastating effect on families who are barely keeping their heads above water, forcing many to go hungry.

“We would like to formally issue a huge thank you to Western Power Distribution for helping us to provide for those in need, positively transforming lives and restoring hope throughout South Wales.”

The National Wales:

Paul Warren, of Glamorgan Voluntary Services, above, said: “The grant from Western Power Distribution will make a huge difference to the community we support.

“Those at risk of food poverty are facing real hardship during these current uncertain times, along with the additional impacts on their mental health.

“The FoodShare project will help those most at risk of food poverty during the summer holidays while at the same time helping to reduce food waste.”

WPD’s resources and external affairs director, Alison Sleightholm, said: “Holiday hunger is a very real and pressing issue in communities up and down the country, and at WPD we have an obligation to support families facing this problem in the communities we serve.

“We’re pleased to be able to support community groups, charities and local authorities in South Wales that are working hard to improve the quality of life for families over the holiday period and beyond, and we look forward to seeing their projects deliver vital benefits.”

WPD is the UK’s largest electricity distributor, responsible for delivering power to homes, businesses and vital services through its lines and cables in the South West, South Wales and the Midlands.

Its Community Matters Fund is paid for by the company’s shareholders and distributes £1million a year.

For more information, visit westernpower.co.uk/community-matters-fund, and follow the fund on social media via #WPDCommunityFund.