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Wales’ first ‘multibank’ launches to help struggling households

06 Mar 2024 3 minute read
The multibank in Wigan. Photo James Speakman. PA Images/PA Wire

A new initiative to provide essential goods to struggling households has been launched in Swansea.

Cwtch Mawr, Wales’s first “multibank”, was officially opened today by First Minister Mark Drakeford and Gordon Brown, the former Prime Minister.

Multibanks are based on the foodbank model, but provide a wider range of non-perishable goods, enabling businesses to redistribute surplus unsold items to people for free.

Cwtch Mawr will be supported by donations from Amazon and other companies, supplying cleaning wipes, sanitary products, toilet paper, kitchen rolls and toys.

Household goods

New and reusable household goods, food, clothes, toiletries, furnishings, bedding, children and baby goods are expected to be provided in future.

The multibank model encourages businesses to cut down on waste through the creation of a bank of surplus household goods.

Cwtch Mawr hopes to donate more than 300,000 surplus essential goods to 40,000 families in poverty this year and will be run by Swansea-based charity Faith in Families, with support from Gordon Brown and Amazon, who co-founded the multi-bank initiative.

The Welsh Government is providing £125,000 for the start-up of the project, with other support coming from local partners including Swansea Council, Pobl Housing Association and The Moondance Foundation.


Mark Drakeford said: “The Multibank is a fantastic model, with businesses based locally donating goods which can then be provided free to people who need them, helping to keep money in their pockets. Cwtch Mawr will help people who are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis to access essential goods and support easily in one place.

“This is an excellent example of the public, private and voluntary sectors coming together to support people in their communities. I’m proud Welsh Government is supporting this project and hope to see it expand over the next five years.”

Gordon Brown added: “The cost-of-living crisis has for too many families become a real, day-in-day-out struggle to make ends meet because the money simply runs out before the end of each month.

“We have designed the Multibank initiative to accept returned, surplus or overruns of goods from UK companies and via local charity partners, like Faith in Families, we can get items like nappies, school uniforms, dusters, and duvets, straight into the hands of social workers, teachers, and health practitioners for social prescribing.

The business partners who have joined our Coalition of Compassion are directly able to alleviate immediate need for warm clothes, hygiene products and essential household items to support those who need them at the time they actually need the help.”

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