Cardiff community larder ‘open to all’ amid cost-of-living crisis

Organisers say ‘Take what you need or give what you can’ as nearly one in six Welsh households experience food insecurity

Canton’s Chapter Arts centre are intent on giving back to the community

A Canton-based arts centre is offering free food and toiletries to all Cardiff residents through its free community larder.

Chapter Arts Centre is facilitating the project, with organisers emphasising that no vouchers or other prerequisites are required to use it.

It decided on this approach for their community larder after research was conducted by Chelsea Davies, Chapter’s head of community services, and her colleague Tom Lloyd.

‘There are some fantastic community initiatives going on around Cardiff’, Davies said, ‘however, lots of them have a qualifying variable, so you need to live in this area, or be on benefits or have a family to access that facility.

‘From the beginning, we wanted something self-run and open to all’, she added, ‘no questions asked.’

There are no barriers to using Chapter’s community larder, which stocks soap and toothpaste as well as foodstuffs

Rising food and energy costs strongly informed Chapter’s open approach.

According to the Food Standards Agency, nearly one in six Welsh households are classified as food insecure.

The FSA define food insecurity as having ‘reduced quality, variety, or desirability of diet’, or ‘multiple indications of disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake’, depending on the level of food insecurity.

‘You can’t tell who is struggling’, Davies said, ‘because in some way, it’s impacted all of us.’

Donations to the larder can be made by dropping items off at Chapter’s front desk. The larder itself is unattended, so anyone is free to ‘simply take what you need or give what you can’, said the arts centre in their press release.

At the time of writing, the larder was stocked with packet noodles, long life dairy and almond milk, and baby food. Biscuits and cereal were also available: ‘because everyone deserves a little treat’, said Davies.

The larder is under the staircase to the far-right of the entrance. It is unattended and all are welcome to use it.