Posted on: Friday 3 April 2020
This week, Torfaen Neighbourhood Services teams alongside other Council colleagues, Community Volunteers, Torfaen Leisure Trust, Bron Afon and Pyramid Hygiene have delivered a large quantity of Free School Meal boxes to households across the borough.
Over 800 households had registered to receive free school meal home deliveries, and more than 1400 boxes were delivered during the week.
This week it was decided that a weekly box meal would be the most effective way to roll out the service due to limited resources and to improve social distancing.
One of the many volunteers to lend a hand was local man Paul Blewitt, who previously owned a local pizza shop. Paul said, 'I wanted to help the community in a time when we all need to pull together. I felt that I was able to help, as in my previous working life I had a good knowledge of the area.
It gave me a sense of satisfaction knowing that there were people in the community who needed support. The response from the people I delivered to was lovely and everyone was appreciative.'
Prior to deliveries taking place, a community hub system was set up for residents to collect meals from their nearest collection points. Community organisations, local councillors and a variety of officers from across the council were all involved in successfully running the hubs.
Many residents have been praising the service online by commenting via the Torfaen Facebook page;
Kayleigh Vowles said ‘Amazing thank you so much ❤ My little girl did love having her sandwiches every day but this is just fab! Well done everyone involved !!!
Nicola Jayne said, ‘Thank you Torfaen received my sons boxes today they are well stocked and my boys were very pleased and looking forward to many healthy meals that they like so much xx
Sarahlee Hargreaves said, ‘Thank you so much! Twins were laughing, the onions were nearly same size as their head! We don’t like mushrooms, so gifted them to our elderly neighbours. Thank you very much.
Executive Member for Children, Families & Communities, Cllr Fiona Cross said, 'I would like to say a major thank you to all our front line teams and community volunteers involved in ensuring that this service was up and running as soon as schools were closed.
Covid-19 has been hugely detrimental to services and staffing levels within the authority. The situation continues to be very dynamic and our response to organising the delivering of free school meals, in such a short time frame, was incredible.
It has been so uplifting to see how the community has pulled together and worked with the authority during these very challenging times and I thank them for their patience and understanding. Please all, stay safe, stay at home and save lives.’
Executive Member for Environment, Cllr Amanda Owen said, ‘I would like to echo the comments made by Cllr Cross and would also like to say a huge thank you to our amazing catering team. Their dedication and hard work over the past two weeks has ensured that hundreds of meals were ready for collection each day, with many catering staff also volunteering their time to help with delivering the food across the borough. Thank you!
Free School Meal deliveries ended as of today and a new FSM credit system will be in place from Monday 6th April.
Families who qualify for Free School Meals are encouraged to sign-up online to receive the credits. Once approved, an amount equivalent to the price of their child’s free school meal will be paid directly into their bank account.
Click here to apply for the Free School Meal credits.