English | Cymraeg
Thinking differently about mental health and wellbeing

News & Stories

16 January 2018

4th birthday of Gofal’s food cooperative which successfully provides work experience and a community hub for people with mental health problems

A food cooperative, run by mental health and wellbeing charity Gofal in Caerphilly County and provides people who have experienced poor mental health with practical work experience and a community atmosphere is celebrating its 4th birthday.

The co-op is run as part of Gofal’s Pathways to Employment service, which provides a specialist service to people with mental health needs, assisting them to access or retain employment, access education and vocational opportunities, or re-discover skills and abilities that they may have lost.

The wider impact of the scheme has resulted in a real community of people who have come through or are currently accessing Gofal’s services meeting weekly at the food co-op. The weekly session means that people get a chance to catch up with friends and build up their confidence in a safe and welcoming environment.

The food cooperative is ran by volunteers in Gofal’s office for the charity’s Gwent services in Oakdale, and its 4th anniversary saw staff and participants hold a celebration event.

Julie Rees, Senior Case Worker for the Pathways to Employment service said: “As we celebrate four years of the food co-op it’s amazing to think how this has developed from a tiny idea. It’s not about the fruit and veg, it’s about friendship and a sense of belonging, giving people a purpose and reducing isolation, reducing the stigma around their mental health, giving individuals hope and building on aspirations.

Paul, a volunteer at the food co-op, said: “The food co-op isn’t just about food, it’s about coming together, talking, sharing, laughing, helping and love, meeting new people, trying new things and expanding your horizons.”

Andrew, another volunteer, described his experiences: “When I first arrived at the food co-op I was a shadow of myself. I was anxious, had no confidence and did not want to go out. Through the co-op I have met people and made friends and we meet outside the session for a coffee, it’s a great atmosphere. I am now a volunteer and feel like my life is back on track.”

Louise Evans, Director of Services for Gofal, added: "The food co-op has changed so many people's lives in the past 4 years. It is not just a place where people get fresh fruit and vegetables, but a place where friendships are formed, new skills are learnt, and most of all a place that gives people a sense of belonging and purpose. All these components are key to a person's wellbeing and recovery. A big thank you to all the volunteers and staff, who make this brilliant project work and without them it wouldn’t be possible.”

Get our newsletter

Youtube output is not well-formed xml
RT @CandiceLloyd20: @Sarah_Wills_ @Gofal_ For me it would be : To be able to spend as much time with @aexmo and my family as I can ,as this…
RT @FreitagEvee: @Sarah_Wills_ @Gofal_ 1. I can't have dairy & i don't like meat so plz be careful what i eat 2. Regular contact w family,…
RT @rob2765: Its Dementia action week, if you could no longer communicate what would be the 3 most important things for someone to know abo…
Get in touch
Feel free to contact us by using the following details: Gofal
2nd floor, Derwen House
2 Court Road, Bridgend
CF31 1BN
01656 647722 Find us - Google maps
Investors in People Mindful Employer Best Company 2014
© Gofal, 2019
Gofal is a registered charity. Registered Charity No: 1000889. Limited by Guarantee: 2546880