Credit: Zoe Glascow

How you can pay for a stranger’s food shopping in Riverside this winter

For just £5, you can buy a food voucher to help someone in food poverty

VISITORS to community food hub the Wyndham Street Pantry can now “pay it forward”. That means you can donate £5 which becomes a voucher for someone without the means to pay for their own food shop.

South Riverside Community Development Centre (SRCDC) opened the Wyndham Street Pantry back in 2020 to ease the struggles facing people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout this time, the pantry ran deliveries to people who couldn’t leave their homes.

Since then, it has become a bustling community hub, with new initiatives improving the lives of those living in Riverside and its surrounding areas. The ‘pay it forward’ scheme has been particularly successful.

The Wyndham Street Pantry runs differently to a food bank. People using the service pay a fixed price for items, handing over £5 for approximately £25 worth of food. Pantry users also don’t have to be able to show that they are in need.

On Tuesdays and Wednesdays every week, between 35 and 50 people visit the pantry in order to stock up. A team of 15 volunteers give their support, whether that is having a cup of tea and a chat with local people, or helping to teach members how to cook the veg up for grabs that week.

The pantry’s visitor profile is diverse: some use the pantry as a top-up, whereas Grant Cockerill, the project coordinator, says “for some, this is their shop”.

The pantry is open to everyone, rich or poor

Grant Cockerill, project coordinator

Grant is keen to develop a sustainable model for the pantry. He has connected with 15 local allotments which provide fresh, local produce for the Wyndham Street Centre.

Upon visiting the pantry, visitors are greeted by volunteers. After paying £5, you can fill your bag with a variety of food items, from coffee and canned goods to fresh fruit and vegetables. For those who don’t have the means to pay for a shop, there are tickets paid for by others through the ‘pay it forward’ scheme. This scheme started out last year as informal donations, but now allows the pantry to keep up with demand, even for those who cannot pay.

Funded by the Welsh government, the pantry is also taking part in the Warm Spaces Scheme this winter. It will stay open for longer, providing residents with a warm place to sit and have a cuppa, work and have access to WiFi, all free of charge. The Welsh Government literacy programme has also provided the centre with a range of books to give out to its visitors.

Although it has expanded over the last few years with different initiatives, the pantry faces new problems. As supermarkets and local food suppliers reduce their stock to only match demand and therefore limit food waste, Wyndham Street looks to connect with other pantries in Cardiff to meet the community’s demands.

To get in touch with Wyndham Street Pantry, email