Foodbank Collection: How It All Came Together

City defender Curtis Nelson with Trust vice chair David Craig

Trust vice-chair David Craig explains how the successful collection for the Rhondda Foodbank was delivered by the Trust with great support from Cardiff City Football Club and thanks to the generosity of fans. We aim to organise further collections to help those in food poverty during these difficult times.

The success of this collection was only possible because the Trust, the club and the supporters worked as a team.  The Rhondda Foodbank, because of their welcoming approach, clear explanation of their work and willingness to become involved were a fourth player in this successful team.

1 Trust Board member Richard Lewis (RL) suggests at Trust Board meeting that he would like the Trust to spearhead a foodbank donation collection at the Cardiff City Stadium at a Bluebirds home game. RL had been in contact with Everton FC Trust which had organised a successful collection. RL had also taken advice and guidance from the Fans for Foodbanks Organisation.  The Trust Board agrees to support this.

2. Trust Board agrees that the pilot project would support a foodbank in the Rhondda Valleys.  This was decided on the basis that the people of the Rhondda Valleys communities had supported Cardiff City FC for many years – well over a century in fact. This would be an opportunity to give something back in a time of crisis; a crisis brought about by high levels of unemployment, poor health and the resulting poverty.

  1. David Craig (DC) identified Rhondda Foodbanks based at Tylorstown as a worthy recipient and visited to find out how the foodbank operated and to become acquainted with the management and volunteers. On this visit, DC learned that Tylorstown was the second most deprived community in Wales.

4. David Craig met with Wayne Nash [Stadium Manager] and Chris Martin to seek the club’s support. This was immediately forthcoming and practical details for the donations collection at the stadium were worked out and agreed.

5. Media vehicles through which the project could be publicised were identified. Phillip Nifield (PN) and Richard Lewis co-ordinated this. Full and effective use was made websites, message boards, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and local press and TV. PN identified and made contact with local and national politicians many of whom were City supporters.

6. At this stage, the Club offered further practical support. Mark Denham ensured that the project was publicised in a match-day programme. In an article, Ken Choo, the club’s Chief Executive, gave his full support to the work being undertaken. Amy James ensured that our players were told about the project and that they would offer donations. This they did in a large quantity.

All was in place for collections day, set for Saturday, December 4th at the City v Sheffield United game.

  1. The collection point was the Trust Office near Gate 5. The Club had provided tables, caged trolleys and a safe storage facility. Although matters were complicated by the Covid-19 entry arrangements at the Stadium, this did not deter the steady flow of fans bringing their donations. As we have seen in the past with the Fred Keenor Statue Campaign, the wonderful City supporters rose to a special occasion. Those unable to bring donation items gave cash. This amounted to £150 with one donation of £100, one of £25, one of £20 and one of £5. What generosity!
  2. On Monday, December 6th, 2021 the donations were loaded onto a van provided by the Club. The Club also provided a driver and ground staff to help with the loading and unloading. The van, with car escorts driven by Phil Nifield and David Craig, made the journey north to Tylorstown. Could be described as a convoy of good cheer.
  3. At Rhondda Foodbanks the donations were weighed [standard procedure with contributions] They weighed 394.35 kgs. This would provide either 20 single food parcels or 15 small family parcels. The Rhondda Foodbank delivers 2 tonnes of food every month. More evidence, if it were ever needed, that this is an area in crisis.
  4. DC at the Trust received a letter of thanks from Rhondda Foodbanks which has been conveyed to all those who ensured that this project was such a great success. Well done everyone.

The underlying structure behind the success of this:

1. It requires an individual to identify and push a cause – Richard Lewis

2. It needs the support of a body that has members with the skills and experience to identify the courses of action required and to develop them – the Cardiff City Supporters’ Trust.

  1. It requires the support of a larger organisation with the capacity to take this to the next stage in the shape of materials, a focal point, a range of staff capabilities, a sound community sense and can also provide access to a large support base  – Cardiff City Football Club.
  2. It is vital that all the players communicate well, have trust in one another and can visualise the rewards that come from working together.

In this case, all these things came together to great effect.