On Friday 14th August, the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, visited St. Thomas’ Church in Trethomas which has been the headquarters of the BMMR Parish Trust CARE Project since March.
The First Minister wanted to personally thank the army of volunteers that have helped the charity to provide food parcels, prescription delivery, and pastoral care to over 4,000 people since it was founded by Rev. Dean Aaron Roberts, the Chair of Trustees of the BMMR Parish Trust, and the Rector and Vicar of the parishes of Bedwas, Machen, Michaelston-y-Fedw and Rudry.
The First Minister arrived at 11 o’clock in the morning and was introduced to a selection of volunteers who have been giving their time and commitment in various ways through the different jobs that need doing in order to run the CARE Project, from call handling to delivering food.
After being introduced to the volunteers, the First Minister was shown how a food parcel is made up, and how it is tailored to the service users. The First Minister was impressed at the quantity of food that goes into a single food parcel. The First Minister spent an hour visiting the CARE Project, and was thanked by the Reverend Dean Aaron Roberts for coming, who presented him with a hamper of cheese as a thank you gift. The visit concluded with a session of interviews with news outlets and other media outside St. Thomas’ Church.
Speaking of the CARE Project, First Minister Mark Drakeford said:
Though the coronavirus pandemic has been a difficult time for us all, our volunteers in Wales have shown themselves to be a light in the dark.
Coming here today and meeting Reverend Dean and the team of volunteers has been a privilege. The CARE project is an impressive endeavour made up of selfless people who responded promptly and with warm hearts, despite trying circumstances.
I want to thank everyone at CARE and all of the volunteers across Wales for the invaluable work and support you have provided in the emergency response to coronavirus.
The Reverend Dean Aaron Roberts said:
We are delighted that the First Minister has visited us at the BMMR Parish Trust CARE Project. This visit has been a huge morale boost for our entire 100 volunteer strong workforce, who are of all ages, and have been providing practical assistance to an area covering around 15,000 people since March.
This has been a great encouragement that the difference our volunteers are making is being recognised and supported by the Government both locally and nationally. We have received incredible support from the local area with donations of money and food, but also of time and energy to ensure people are looked after.
We have also been greatly encouraged by a grant from the Welsh Government and other charitable organisations who saw our work as being vital towards mitigating both the direct and indirect consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.
Our charity will now prioritise looking at building resilience in our communities and continuing to offer practical assistance as we adjust our lives to the new normality we are about to discover as the nation seeks to recover from lockdown.
Also in attendance were local dignitaries from the Caerphilly County Borough Council, as well as Wayne David MP and Hefin David, Member of the Senedd.
To get help, please call our telephone line on 02921 880 212 option 0, or go to https://bmmr.church/care
To volunteer with the CARE Project, please go to https://bmmr.church/care and follow the on screen instructions.
Images by Julie Nobes.