While lots of people may be reaching for party food during the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, a Welsh broadcaster is planning to do the opposite – and fast for six days.
Gwenno, who has worked for BBC Wales and BBC Cymru, said she felt compelled to do something after seeing the pomp and ceremony of the Queen’s speech – which saw the Monarch’s crown transported by its own car to parliament – while so many across the UK were facing hardship. So as well as reducing her food for six days, she has also vowed to donate to foodbanks instead.
She said: “Seeing what was happening during the Queen’s speech – the crown worth millions and millions of pounds, all those people on high wages at the House of Lords, while so many people at home are worried about how they are going to pay their bills or how they are going to get the next meal on their table.
“Often, we feel helpless in these situations. During the Covid pandemic, we saw the rich become richer and the poor become poorer. I live a comfortable life, but I could have easily been one of those people that are struggling right now – it could be happening to anyone. And that’s when I thought I had to do something.”
Due to a blood condition, Gwenno will be following doctors’ advice and eating just one meal a day for six days, The singer and actress has been using the hashtags #NeedNotGreed and #JubileeFastForFoodBanks on Twitter and is urging others to take part.
She added: I considered, what I could do, what could other people do and make a difference without realising they are making a difference. In the past, I have done fasting through the 5:2 diet, it’s effective in the fact that you have 600 calories for two days of the week. I feel like if I can do it, anyone can.
“We can all skip a meal each day, that would be around £3-5 and then £12-20 after four days. I’ve worked it out that I could easily save around £5-10, unfortunately I can’t do the whole duration because of my blood condition and it wouldn’t be safe for me to do that. But that money that I can save would then be donated to a food bank and be used for the people that really do need it.”
In April, a survey by Deliveroo showed that almost one in 10 parents were “very likely” to need to use a food bank in the next three months. Some 9% of parents – or 1.3 million, said they expected to visit a food bank to cope with the soaring cost of living, while 88% said their monthly food shop had increased in price over the past three months.
For Gwenno, living in poverty is something that she has experienced in the past. “I can relate to what many are going through right now,” she explained. “I know what it’s like to have nothing.
“There was a time in my life when I didn’t know where my next meal would come from. I lived and worked in Belgium as an au pair [nanny]. When I was seriously poor, I would live on dried potatoes, mackerel and porridge. It was hard, I lived in a country where I couldn’t speak the language, I didn’t know anyone and had to look after an 18 month old boy.
“I realised that I had a gift for singing and that’s when I started to sing on the streets in Belgium to make money. I busked for three years and in that time I knew what living in poverty was like.
“Even though I am at a point my life where I don’t need support from a food bank, there are a lot of people from my community that do. What is terrible is that west Wales – where I’m from, is one of the poorest areas in Europe, and that saddens me.”
You can follow Gwenno’s campaign via her Twitter profile.