On the Buses with Pewsey Community Coronavirus Assistance

Parliament may’ve dissolved Covid regulations and passed the buck to public responsibility, for those still listening to them, but voluntary support group, Pewsey Community Coronavirus Assistance, originally established to assist the people of Pewsey and surrounding area during the pandemic, is not only still operating, but making improvements and necessary changes to fight, more generally, rural poverty in our area.

They proudly posted a photo of their new double-decker bus on social media, which just passed its MOT, but still needs support, help with electrics, carpentry and gas. “Our community bus was purchased to enable us to continue to fight food waste,” they explained, “food poverty, malnutrition, loneliness, isolation fatigue and cultural deprivation through our radical action plan in the heart of our community.”

The PCCA are currently operating out of the village’s Wesley Hall, “offering Foodshare by collecting food from supermarkets that would otherwise go to waste and by redistributing into the heart of our community where it’s needed most,” they continued. “The guys down at the hall have been kind enough to offer us the use of the hall while we are converting our bus, but as soon as we are good to go, the bus will be our new home.”

They deliver emergency food and household supply boxes to individuals and families suffering from financial hardship leading to food poverty, cooking nutritious meals every week for those more vulnerable members of our community, to ensure they get nutritious home cooked meals. The PCCA also run a donations-based fresh fruit and veg market and friendship café, “so people who are in isolation can come down, meet new friends and have a chat over free tea, coffee and cake, going home afterwards with a bag of fruit and veg.”

The extent of rural poverty is something seriously undersold and misguided through the seductive popular myth of the idyllic British countryside, and often imagined solely as an urban affliction. Austerity and the effects of lockdown has seen massive cuts to public infrastructure and services, so while often hidden, rural housing has an affordability crisis, employment has dwindled particularly for youth, together with increasing fuel prices, making ends meet is becoming increasingly difficult in rural areas like Wiltshire.

I would like to extend a warm hand of gratefulness for all the sterling work the PCCA has done so far, and will continue to do so, hopefully now more mobile. As well as the food packages, home cooked food delivery and community café, the amenities they cover is vast, from the Community Farming Initiative, library, and “buddy” helpline, to being a helping hand in dog walking. Everything they do is voluntarily, and they need helpers, plus funds to convert their bus to meet food safety standards on a mobile vehicle, which will cover the numerous villages of the Pewsey Vale area.

More information on the PCCA, here. Facebook here.


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