Food Bank Use Growing in Wales’ Least Deprived County, Says Third Sector Chief
The use of food banks in one of Wales’ least deprived counties is growing on a weekly basis, according to a third sector chief.
Chief executive officer at Glamorgan Voluntary Services (GVS), Rachel Connor, revealed her observations at a Vale of Glamorgan Council voluntary sector joint liaison committee meeting on Monday, January 29.
Ms Connor said: “It is terrifying to see how steep that user curve is accelerating.”
The Vale of Glamorgan is the second least deprived county in Wales, according to 2021 Census data, behind Monmouthshire.
At the committee meeting, Ms Connor said there are “massive challenges” for the third sector in the Vale in the coming years.
The CEO referenced an “alarming” recent meeting between representatives of third sector organisations from across Wales, adding that more community and volunteer groups are dealing with new types of needs for their services.
She also said more organisations across the country are operating services previously provided by the public sector.
The comments come at a time when councils across the country face tough choices on where they will have to make cuts in order to bridge budget gaps worth millions of pounds.
Vale of Glamorgan Council faces a budget gap of more than £7m and has already proposed a number of measures like increasing council tax and the cost of its community transport scheme, Greenlinks.
The local authority is currently developing a forum to provide support for the third sector.
The Section 16 Forum, which it is referred to as, will allow organisations and individuals to talk about the challenges, risks and opportunities for the sector in the county.
In addition to annual meetings, a number of workshops to be held throughout the year are also bring proposed.
Head of resource management and safeguarding at Vale of Glamorgan Council, Ian McMillan, said he is excited about the opportunities the forum can provide.
Vice chair of the council’s voluntary sector joint liaison committee, Cllr Susan Lloyd-Selby, asked for the committee to be provided with an update towards the end of the year on how the forum is progressing.
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