What can £4 get you in Splott? A lot!

Each week a charity in Splott serves up a piping hot breakfast, hot drinks and a bag of shopping including fridge and freezer items for a donation of just £4.

Splott Community Volunteers was set up nine years ago by husband and wife team Angela and Fred Bullard and their close friend Trisha Mardon to help homeless people or people facing homelessness.

They set up a breakfast club out of the Old Splott Library providing a hot meal and bag of shopping for a small donation, but realised after talking to people walking through the door was that the need was far wider than they originally thought and that many were struggling to make ends meet through no fault of their own, including people in work.

They realised that people were coming to breakfast club to make connections, make friends and socialise. They also realised that people wanted the opportunity to give something to their community and they were inundated with queries about how people could help. Volunteering was the answer and Splott Community Volunteers was born.

Fast forward nine years and the group is a thriving registered charity with a physical base at the back of the old STAR Centre in Splott which provides much more than just a weekly breakfast club, with regular activities like air fryer cookery courses, knit & natter and digital skills, but maybe that’s a story for another day. This article is about what you can get in Splott for £4 and that’s exactly what we’re going to delve into now.

Walk through the doors of Splott Community Volunteers on a Thursday morning between 8.30am and 10.30am and you will be greeted with a smile by one of the volunteers on the front desk. If you haven’t been before, one of the volunteers or one of the two part-time members of staff will be there to help you find your way.

After contributing your £4 donation (all proceeds of which go towards funding breakfast club and other community activities), you will be asked to give your name and no more (there is no means testing or proof of need here. Everyone is welcome). Then you give your breakfast order and take a seat (FYI the choices are a full cooked breakfast of sausage (vegan available), bacon, scrambled eggs, hash brown, mushrooms and beans, bread & butter or a variation of the above to eat in or take away). One of the volunteers will bring your breakfast to you, along with cutlery and sauces if requested.

Pop up to the hot drinks stand and another volunteer will provide a tea, coffee, hot chocolate, you name it (or fruity tea, water, squash) with oat milk available for vegan customers.

On arrival, you will be given a ticket with a number. Keep your eyes on the digital screens and when your number is called, make your way to the pantry shop to get your bag of shopping. Usually, it’s ten items (15 on special occasions like before Christmas) and choose your fridge item, dried, tinned, fruit, veg, freezer item, drink, confectionary etc.

Sometimes they have meal packs like the recent Banging Beans on Toast funded by the Lidl Community Fund (they have recently received funding from Coca Cola, CCHA, C3SC and Sainbsury’s to make more meal packs and stock up their pantry and would like to give a huge thank you to these funders. They make a big, big difference to what the charity is able to give out each week).

After that, make your way to the savoury / pastry stand and grab one of each (usually a choice of filled rolls, sausage rolls, pasties and cakes).

Oh, by the way, don’t forget to pop in the charity shop on your way out! Also run by volunteers, it has everything from housewares to clothing, toys to gadgets. All for a very reasonable price (because that is what this charity does. Provides quality food and goods to the people of Splott and surrounding areas at low cost).

Job done. A full belly, a full bag and some bonus items.

But it’s not just about that.

Each week, people talk to each other, share experiences, stories, worries and joy. Friendships are formed and the room is alive and vibrant with conversation, sharing and great community feeling. It’s no wonder that Splott Community Volunteers has featured on Welsh news recently in feature articles on the positive power of meaningful volunteering activities and community action.

Parents grab a bite to eat as their children play in the supervised children’s area with mini ball pit, lego kits, toys and drawing kits, and people sign up to future courses and suggest what they would like the charity to do next.

Each week, between 25 and 30 volunteers get together to collect food from supporters like Tesco, Coop, ALDI, LIDL, Greggs, Fareshare, local allotments and others, prepare and cook the breakfasts, serve customers, man the charity shop, make hot drinks, man the savoury stand and all the behind the scenes things that people don’t see (clear away, wipe down, wash up, wash and iron the aprons, restock the pantry). It’s a huge effort and an oiled machine that has been running behind the scenes for years.

If you haven’t been yet, why not pop down one Thursday and see for yourself what £4 can get you in Splott?

8.30am – 10.30am every Thursday at Splott Community Volunteers at the back of the old STAR Centre, entry opposite A1 Tyres on Railway Street.