A NEW partnership to tackle food poverty in Wales will see two Well-Fed Warm Hubs open in churches in Deeside this week.

The Diocese of St Asaph is linking up with Shotton-based social enterprise, Can Cook/Well-Fed to offer tasty, nutritional hot food, a warm welcome and high-quality ready-meals to take home. It’s part of the Archbishop of Wales’ Food and Fuel Campaign to tackle the cost of living crisis.

St Mark’s Church Hall in Connah’s Quay will be open on Thursdays from 11am to 2pm and St Ethelwold Church Hall in Shotton will be open on Friday evenings from 4.30pm to 6.30pm offering fresh soup and hot drinks.

Those attending the events will be able to take home another meal for free to eat later or the following day.

St Asaph Diocese is investing £7,500 to buy equipment such as microwaves, soup kettles and fridges to store and heat food in both venues, 500 ready meals to give out free to those attending and money towards the additional heating costs to ensure each venue is warm and inviting.

The Bishop of St Asaph, the Rt Revd Gregory Cameron said: “I think it hits us hard that we are facing a cost-of-living crisis in the wake of Covid. It is challenging to discover that even in the fifth richest economy in the world, we are having to come to terms with real and biting issues of poverty.

"I am impressed by the practical response that churches, volunteers and partner organisations are making but I hope that our politicians are also committed to the relief of poverty as a priority.”

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Can Cook/Well-Fed's managing director, Robbie Davison was invited to speak in St Ethelwold’s Church in Shotton on Sunday morning. (December 4).

He said: “If people are hungry, they do not cope well with their crisis but if you feed them good food, they are more likely to cope much better and get themselves out of that crisis.”

After the service, Robbie said: “I’ve been speaking in church this morning and I think churches are probably the most important community structure. I’m looking forward to working in partnership with the church, beginning with the warm hubs.

"We’re unlikely to solve poverty but together we can solve food poverty. The moment somebody eats well, they are no longer in food poverty. They may still be in poverty, but they are no longer in food poverty, and I’d like to have a relationship with the church that makes sure that nobody is in food poverty.”

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The church warden at St Ethelwold’s, Rob Dawson, is one of those organising the warm hub in Shotton. He said: “We’re all aware of the cost-of-living crisis now but the pandemic has created great loneliness in our communities.

"People are not feeling that they can meet with one another, so this well-fed warm hub is a way of tackling both poverty and loneliness. Sitting down at a table and talking over food is a great way to get people socialising.

“There are people in this area who are missing meals because they have to choose between heating their house or eating. That’s not a choice that people should have to make. We’re not going to save the world, but we might just make a difference to somebody once a week.”

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