Updated: Feb 17
Since its launch in June 2020 Tin on a Wall has been one of our most recognised and most loved projects. Some of you may never have heard of Tin on a Wall, (Sorry but - where have you been?) However, once a month our admin team coordinates our street champion volunteers to collect tins left on walls, drives, doorsteps and windowsills. No matter the weather (and trust us after almost two years our volunteers have seen it all - rain, snow, blistering sunshine and even mild hurricane conditions) we’ll be out collecting because it has become vital to the survival of local food banks in the area.
How it all Began
When the world went into lockdown and people faced incredibly uncertain financial futures. Household incomes were stretched further by family members being placed on furlough or being made redundant as businesses closed. Food banks saw an unprecedented demand, the likes of which hadn’t been seen for a long time. However, when added to changing consumer habits where customers favoured online deliveries to avoid the risk of contracting the virus and the initial spell of panic buying seen across the entire country; food bank donations fell off the priority list for most people.
Our local food banks were at crisis point which was a truly uncertain and desperate situation for so many. We knew something could be done to help and so Tin on a Wall begun it’s planning stage.
The idea for Tin on a Wall came from Jayne Jeramiah in Pantside Foodbank who was coordinating smaller scale collections locally. Inspired by a simple idea that meant people could help contribute without really leaving their home really captured the imaginations of our founders at RCV UK. After some conversations and advice they set about putting a team together for a first collection in Risca and Rogerstone; quickly expanding to Wattsville and Cwmfelinfach too.
Expectations were mixed but RCVUK were determined to help.
Tin on a Wall was a huge initial set up which our founders Dawn Derraven and Tara Holloway-Scott. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing, Tara explains. “The initial set up of a collection on this scale involves a massive effort, there are a lot of people to sign up as volunteers, health and safety risks to appease as well as working out how the collection will be stored and sent to where it is most needed. There’s also communicating with the community about why we’re doing the collection all topped off with extra complications from Covid restrictions. It took weeks of intense planning before we were ready for the June collection.”
High visibility vests, masks, sanitiser, social distancing and isolation rules were all in place for the collection. Safety of our volunteers was always a high priority. We wanted to ensure the people who had given time to assist us were as protected and safe as possible.
Leaflets were made and distributed locally. After weeks of planning, the first collection date was approaching and everyone was concerned it wouldn’t be enough. Dawn adds “There was a concern that people wouldn’t take part or understand why it was necessary. We understood that everyone had concerns of their own during this time and we were very apprehensive about whether this would be a success. We reasoned that whatever we collected would still be more than the food banks currently had and we should just persevere.”
In the end it turned out to be needless worrying.
It was a complete success resulting in almost six tonnes of food being collected in our first month. This was enough food to keep some food banks stocked for at least six months. The sense of pride felt across the team meant we knew we were on to something really special.
“The first collection was completely overwhelming. Our volunteers were moved to tears by the scale of their individual collections, knowing what this could mean for the charities we were going to donate the collection to. We honestly felt so thankful to everyone for being so generous.”
Jayne from Pantside sums it up beautifully with this quote: -
A Huge Thank You to our Community
From that moment Tin on a Wall remained a monthly collection that meant consistent intake for food banks. It was clear that it had really captured the hearts of this community and has ensured that the ever increasing demand on local food banks and charities can now be met. No-one in our community should go hungry.
So we wanted to take a moment and say a really heartfelt thank you to everyone who has ever donated, to all our volunteers for collecting and our admin team for their continued efforts. Every single tin you collect makes the difference!
Here some of the charities we’ve worked with want to say exactly what the collections have meant to them:-
Aimee at BMMR Parish Trust "Tin On A Wall and RCV UK as a whole has helped The Parish Trust so much. We have called on them several times when our food bank stock has been too low to cope with, and they have always helped us out promptly. Because of their kindness and generosity, we have been able to continue making our usual generous food parcels. The entire team at RCV are brilliant and it's great to have these community ties which mean that charities can call on other charities in times of need. Thank you, RCV!💓"
Elin at Sirhowy Community Centre adds; “The Tin on a Wall donations have made the following differences in my community; it's made the difference of pets getting fed - being able to afford to switch the heating on and keeping ourselves clean along with our clothes. Not forgetting families not going to bed with an empty belly - thank you.”
Collections this month will be donated to RCV Emergency Foodbank, Risca Foodbank, We Connect Food Pantry and Cwmfelinfach Primary School Pantry. Tin on a Wall takes place the second Saturday of each month and is always advertised on our social channels. If you would like to take part as a street champion email our Tin on a Wall team at firstname.lastname@example.org and register your interest.
A special heartfelt thanks to Paul Williams and PMW PropertyServices LTD for their support for Tin on a Wall from its conception. They helped keep our street champions safe with branded high vis vests.