GRANTS of more than £500,000 which were handed out by a tackling poverty team in Swansea last year were a lifeline to people, councillors were told.
The money went to 132 food banks, churches, charities, schools, libraries and community groups and was spent on food, food vouchers, cooking and storage equipment, period products, and warm hubs in the winter, among other things.
The grant funding also included 350 payments of £150 to households struggling with essential bills.
Cllr Alyson Pugh, cabinet member for well-being, told an adult services scrutiny panel: “This small amount of money in the right hands can go a long way.”
The Welsh Government provided the council £502,188 in total to tackle poverty in 2022-23, while the council contributed £25,000 to the Men’s Shed organisation, which helps men deal with isolation and encourages them to pursue interests.
A report before the panel included feedback from organisations benefiting from the funding, such as Zac’s Place, George Street.
It said: “We’ve seen an increase of approximately 25% in food costs, no decrease in demand, so this grant has been essential to continue to offer our service. Without it we would have run the risk of having to use reserves meant for essential building renovation work.”
Staff at Matthew’s House, High Street, said: “Being back open on Sunday evenings in particular meant that we could be a refuge for people struggling to heat their homes.”
One grateful parent told Mountain View and Swansea Children’s Centre, which runs sessions for three to 11-year-olds, that breakfast bags provided for her six children had plenty of fruit, which she normally didn’t buy much of.
Homelessness support charity The Wallich said: “Some families faced a bleak Christmas, this funding helped with extra food provision needed over Christmas holidays, meaning they could afford Christmas dinner for their family.”
The Chinese Autism Support Group was one of several organisations which received period dignity funding, and one parent said: “The educational talk has been incredibly helpful in improving my understanding of my body and reducing feelings of shame surrounding my period.”
Staff at Felindre Welfare Hall, which received a warm hub grant, said: “Made a massive impact in our community, a lot of people in our village that were too scared to come out after Covid, many had not left their houses since.”
Cllr Hayley Gwilliam, cabinet member for community, said it was great that Swansea had so many volunteers who stepped in when needed. She added: “People are really struggling at the moment.”