The Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, joined staff and volunteers at Sneyd Community Association on Wednesday to help pack food parcels for those in need and most vulnerable in Walsall.
The project, a collaboration between Walsall Council, community associations, private businesses, elected members, faith community members and local volunteers, has been funded by central government’s COVID-19 emergency funding for local government. Just after Easter, Sneyd Community Centre in Bloxwhich, normally reserved for educational, recreational and leisure activities, was transformed into a central distribution centre. Since then, working just three times a week, the team has managed to pack and distribute over 2,000 parcels to residents in need across the borough.
This astonishing number would not be possible without the help and support of local volunteers and elected members who make up 50% of the workforce at the centre. One of those volunteers, Ian Askew, who has been helping out since the start, said: “I just wanted to do something to help out and I’m not qualified to do anything medical. I’m so impressed with the way the Council has organised things here – it’s amazing.”
The packs themselves include essential items including: dried food, such as pasta; powdered milk; tea bags and tinned food. For many of those isolated and in need across Walsall they have been a lifesaver and, with at least another three weeks of lockdown measures in place and those most at risk becoming increasingly isolated, the service will be needed more than ever.
Deputy Leader of the Council, Councillor Adrian Andrew, who invited the Mayor to visit said: “I cannot pay tribute enough to the staff, volunteers, businesses and community organisations all of whom have worked tirelessly to source, pack and deliver essential supplies to those in our community most in need.”
Mayor Andy Street said: “It was great to join the team in Walsall today to see this brilliant scheme that is bringing essential supplies and vital support to vulnerable residents across the borough. I pay tribute to everyone involved in this amazing work which is showing such true community spirit, thanks to the generous support and time of many people locally.”