People’s Health Trust started funding Penparcau Community Forum in July 2014 through the Trust’s Local Conversations programme with money raised by Health Lottery Wales in order to address local priorities within the community. One of these priorities was building a new community centre in Penparcau, Aberystwyth, the Penparcau Community Hub, and purchasing a minibus to provide community transport. During the COVID 19 pandemic, and especially during March and April , The Hub and local volunteers became the heart of the response to the coronavirus outbreak.
In order to address the sudden emergency needs of the local community, the Penparcau Community Hub established PAT (Penparcau Action Team), a coordinated volunteer community group which working in partnership with Ystwyth Medical Group, Padarn Surgery and St Ann’s Church provided logistical, and organised community support.
Although it was an ever-changing situation, the group vowed to remain flexible throughout and managed to meet their intentions of providing assistance and support to the most medically vulnerable within the Penparcau community. They also supported St Ann’s church by providing them with a much-needed delivery service to distribute food supplies to those most in need by using the community minibus. The service began in March and provided a professional and responsible approach by heeding national and local government advice.
Teams were dispatched daily from the Penparcau Community Hub in the Hub’s minibus and have establish a morning, lunchtime and teatime delivery service, ensuring local residents who needed to shield, had access to good quality fresh food, and medical supplies.
Speaking about the importance of the project, Colin Richard Jones MBE, Local Conversations Officer, said: “This is a vital link to the Community in these dire times, we are providing a lifeline of medicine, supplies, and morale”.
As the physical distancing measures have lessened, the project has been looking towards the future and deciding on the next steps to take. The PAT team is still running, although the service has managed to reduce down to five days a week now, but the team is still out there delivering surplus food, collecting prescriptions for the vulnerable and taking food bank shopping to those who are unable to get out and about.
The project has also been working on a project to tackle food poverty with the vision to give the community the access and opportunity to grow their own food. Penparcau Planting Project involves creating a community garden, Bee and wildlife garden, and enabling the community to have access to grow vegetables, herbs and fruits.
Clare Jackson, Local Conversation Officer said, “This project will be ongoing for many years to the point we could even have a community co-op with the food we produce. We have already had a lot of interest from residents in the community who want to volunteer after lockdown, residents who want to donate garden space and local businesses that want to help sustain it.
We are extremely proud of completing a housing estate with eight planters which now have an abundance of vegetables, herbs and flowers in them. The project is completely resident led and they are using the growing scheme with their children and grandchildren who have been very proactive in watering and pruning throughout the holidays.”
From emergency relief in the pandemic, to sustained efforts to reduce food poverty, the Local Conversation in Penparcau is looking to address residents’ needs, now and for the long term.
The Local Conversation in Penparcau is funded through the Trust’s Local Conversations programme with money raised by Health Lottery Wales.
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