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Home-grown fruit and veg at foodbank thanks to grant

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A foodbank that opened just before the Covid pandemic struck is now distributing home grown fresh fruit and veg thanks to a grant from Swansea Council.

Juliet Rees who set-up Birchgrove Foodbank in March 2020 is also the driving force behind a community garden in the grounds of the community centre.

A scrub piece of land has been transformed into an oasis of green where all manner of fruit and vegetables from peppers, beetroot, cabbage and French beans to apples, pears and peaches are now growing.

The garden has been created with the help of local businesses and volunteers and Juliet successfully applied for a Food Poverty grant from Swansea Council which helped pay for seeds, plants, fruit trees, tools, a wheel barrow, water butts and timber to create raised beds.

Volunteers will be able to pick some of what they grow and the rest will go into the boxes and bags distributed  from the foodbank which is open on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Juliet said: “When I came out the back of the community centre and saw all this empty space I thought we could do something with it. I’m so excited about what has been created and I must thank fellow volunteers Tania Arthur and Mo Sykes as we would not have got to this point without them.

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“I approached a number of businesses who have made donations and volunteers and we’ve had a class from Birchgrove Comprehensive come down to help and we are hoping the primary school will be involved with planting an orchard.

“Everyone has been tremendous and we are open to anyone – if they want to come and help that will be great.”

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The Birchgrove Community Food Garden was one of more than 40 projects supported by Swansea Council’s Food Poverty grants last year.

Applications are now open for this year’s grants to charities, volunteer and community groups tackling food poverty in Swansea.

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Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Supporting Communities, Alyson Pugh, said: “The project in Birchgrove is just the sort of community lead initiative we are keen to support because it will make a real difference to peoples’ lives.

“Juliet and the volunteers have done an amazing job and I’m just blown away by what they have achieved.”

Applications for the first round of this year’s funding need to be submitted by August 4 and if sufficient funds are available, there will be a second round of funding which will close on September 30.

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