A word that is spoken of a lot at St David’s College is community. Throughout the pandemic that word became stronger, and began to mean different things to different people. For some it was a place of solidarity, a way of seeking comfort in others, or a place of support – mentally, emotionally, physically. For some people the word comes with a responsibility, an obligation to ‘practice what we preach’.

This summer, Sian Connolly finished her studies at St David’s College. Throughout her time in college she played a very active role in promoting the Catholic ethos, through her words and her actions.

During Sian’s first year at St David’s she led an Alpha course, with the help of the RE department, that gave students the opportunity to meet and put forward their questions about Christianity. It also gave Christians currently at college the opportunity to meet and share their experiences.

Sian said “I was grateful for the help and knowledge of other young Christians at college who were able to answer some challenging questions! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to join any other extra circular groups in my second year – because of the Coronavirus Pandemic”.

While not being able to play a role in college run activities, Sian volunteered with The CARE Project – a project set up by the Parish Trust that stands for ‘Church, assistance request, in an emergency’. It provides support to people within the CF83 postcode area by offering prescription collections, click and collect shopping collections, a befriending service and food parcel delivery completely free of charge. As lockdown rules began to ease, the need for prescription collections and click and collect shopping collections decreased, and the project began to focus its energies to food parcel delivery

While beginning as a volunteer, Sian progressed to the role of Operations Officer for the project – where her role involved the procurement of food for the food bank, and managing a total of over 100 volunteers who helped collect surplus food from suppliers.

“I was shocked by the amount of food waste that we were being offered and how long it’s life could be extended for after it’s ‘best before’ date, and how much of it could be frozen and eaten before it’s ‘use by’ date. By the end of my employment all of the food being distributed through the CARE Project was food waste. With the help of my team of volunteers between March 2020 and July 2021 we saved and distributed nearly 17,000 meals equating to 20042.50Kg of saved Co2 emissions”.

Speaking of the importance of playing a role within the local community, Sian said:

“It gives me the opportunity to live the word of God. It also enables me to be an example of the positive effect that being a Christian can have on my life and the people around me. Going to Church on a Sunday is an instrumental part of being a Christian, but actioning the words spoken through the sermon is even more important”.

“Playing a role in my local community is important to me because it puts me in the position to spread the word of God and give people the opportunity to ask me questions about my faith and become involved with the Church. It’s also extremely rewarding using my spare time to help those in need and it’s a great way to make new friends too!”

You can find out more about The CARE Project, by visiting https://theparishtrust.org.uk/care/