Happy Birthday PATCH!

First posted Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Time flies so fast that it’s often hard to know where it’s gone. As PATCH celebrates it’s 6th Birthday, it provides an opportunity to look back at how things have changed in that time, and perhaps at things that haven’t changed. Our history can be found on the “About” page.

The need for the services of PATCH is growing. It seems hard to believe in this day in age, in a county as beautiful as Pembrokeshire, that there are folks living here who are facing a genuine struggle to survive. The number of bases we have is growing, and thanks to the support of many local businesses we have an increasing number of locations where donations can be received. This year we have been fortunate and delighted to be named as the Charity of the Year for three local businesses and organisations, and the support and profile that this provides for us in invaluable.

So what is PATCH? PATCH stands for Pembrokeshire Action To Combat Hardship. We run Basics Banks. Basics Banks are more than just food banks. We provide food parcels for people who for various reasons are unable to feed themselves. We provide clothing for people who cannot afford clothing. We provide household basics (kettles, pots and pans) for people who don’t have these items. We support individuals, couples, families. We ensure that people are able to access the support they need to help them, whether that be through the provision of food and clothes, or by signposting to other agencies that can also help them out. We will help anyone who is referred to us.

We operate additional schemes such as the Fill Your Boots scheme, a means by which someone can have a hot meal and a hot drink thanks to vouchers purchased or donated by someone else, supported by a number of cafes throughout the county. We run a Food Co-op, designed to enable people to access a basket of fresh fruit or veg at an affordable cost. This particular project is open to anyone – simply pop down to our Milford Base on a Wednesday, place your order, and then come back next week to collect. We hold an annual Christmas Toy Appeal ensuring that children in the county are able to have a Christmas gift or two, where previously they may not have done.

To achieve all this, and to help the people we do, we rely on two very important things. Firstly our volunteers. Without them PATCH could not operate. They hold it all together, accept and sort donations, help and support clients. Secondly the incredible generosity and support of Pembrokeshire people. Without their donations, whether cash, food, clothes, or household basics, we would not be able to provide help for those who really need it. PATCH is about Pembrokeshire people helping Pembrokeshire people.

It is of course a concern that there is a need for PATCH, and the issues that cause that need are deep seated and will take more than a quick fix to resolve. However, PATCH is here, and here it will stay to help and support those who need it, regardless of why. Financial hardship can and does affect anyone, and when it does hit home, the effects on the individual and their family can be crippling in more ways than one. So, as we celebrate our 6th Birthday, please join us in thanking our Volunteers, and thanking all those who support us, and if you would like to give us a little something for our birthday, we’d be very grateful – a few tins of meat, some clothes, or a donation to purchase Fill Your Boots Vouchers would be lovely, and make a real difference to someone in this county. Thank you.

 

Written for PATCH

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