Connect with us


Community spirit saves nursery from ‘disaster’



The completed portakabin: After help from the community

The completed portakabin: After help from the community

THE CLOSURE of a school in Llansawel which resulted in the loss of a nursery has had a happy ending after community members step in to help out in a massive effort.

The village hall committee trust have provided a new home for the Cylch Meithrin, a popular nursery group based in the village school, which the county council closed last Easter.

Bill Davies, the secretary for the committee, spoke to the Herald about the issue, explaining: “The closure of our school was of course a disaster for our village. Cylch Meithrin had occupied one of the school’s outbuildings for about forty years and were given notice to quit around Christmas 2014.”

The committee felt that to lose that nursery as well as the school would have compounded the problem, as parents would quickly be persuaded to take their children elsewhere as the lack of certainty for a continuous service had been lost.

Due to impracticality, the village hall were unable to hold the children from the group as it would conflict with other on-going community activities that take place there, and the lack of space would be insufficient for the children.

Bill Davies explained: “We felt we had to act quickly and there was no time to apply for supporting grants, so we chose to use some of the hall’s own savings, so that we could assure parents that the new space would be satisfactory and that there would be no break in the service.”

To attempt to provide somewhere for the nursery, the committee purchased a large elderly portakabin on Ebay, which was an ex-MOD classroom, and measured approximately 10 metres by 7.5 metres. The room was brought to the committee from Essex by a local road haulier Roy Davies, and was stored in his own yard until the time was right.

The committee then applied for, and successfully received, planning permission whilst preparations for a building foundation were carried out, including water and electric supply, and sewerage.

When the building was put in place, the committee realised that more needed to be done in order to accomplish the task successfully for the nursery. Bill Davies continued, “We realised that we would have to do a good deal more to it than originally intended, to make it comfortable, especially when we learned that it had been made for export to the Middle East and that the level of insulation was less than we had supposed. Basically, we had bought a strong steel frame but everything else needed to be improved.”

Throughout the summer and autumn of 2015, Bill Davies and the rest of the committee took part in a great effort to finish the building. The windows and doors were replaced with larger doubleglazed units, insulation on the walls was doubled and tripled in the roof space, children’s and staff toilets were installed, and a new kitchen and cloakroom/hallway were put in place. The building was rewired to have a new false ceiling, a water heater, and a thermostat-timer controlled heating system. The interior was then also decorated and ramps were built up to the entrance of the building.

After months of dedicated hard work, the project was completed in November, but since then the committee have been waiting on CSSIW (Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales) to finish their processes to allow the Meithrin to move into their new home. Carmarthenshire Council has allowed the Meithrin to remain in its old home until the transition can be made.

The total cost of the project was under £14,000 which included the £1500 cost of the building itself. Various contributions to help out were made by members of the community including the doors and windows who were fitted by local builders Emyr Roberts, and Elgan Davies. Emyr also used skilled labour to install the kitchen free of charge. Other general work was carried out on a volunteer basis by various members of the committee. All materials and costs were paid for by the committee, and the total cost amounted to approximately three quarters of the committee’s savings.

Barrie Martin, the Trust’s chairman, said: “We were fortunate to have managed the Trust’s finances to have accumulated a surplus: we do not exist to build a miser’s heap; and you could hardly think of a better use for the money than to keep the Meithrin in our community.”

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


Nearly £50,000 of National Lottery funding for community groups in Carmarthenshire



FIVE local community organisations across Carmarthenshire are celebrating after being awarded a share of £49,575 of funding from The National Lottery Community Fund over the past month.

One successful project was MolTân Makers who will use their £9,820 grant to provide metal working workshops for people wishing to improve their mental health and well-being. The group will reach out to mental health groups and the wider community and also allow people to reconnect with the community following the pandemic.

One participant with MolTân Makers explained, “ The course was professionally run by four hard-working people who helped us with one to one tuition when needed. They were so welcoming and adaptable to individual needs and allowed me to attend the course at different hours due to health reasons.

“They were great company and created an interesting and positive atmosphere to help people with mental and physical health problems feel included and understood and we all took home what we made in the course.”

The Hangout received £10,000 and will help young people improve their mental health and wellbeing through structured outdoor activity programmes. The project will build on a previous pilot project that led to more young people becoming re-engaged in school following the pandemic and continuing to volunteer with the group after the initial sessions finished.

The Alternative Learning Company in Llanelli were awarded £9,955 and will recycle plastic bottles to build full size greenhouses. They will propagate plants for growing schemes in local schools and communities. The project will reduce the levels of plastic sent to landfill or polluting open spaces, and give young people an understanding of the impact of climate change.

Newcastle Emlyn Town Council will build an outdoor structure in collaboration with the community, to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s Jubilee. This £10,000 grant will fund building and design materials, and a water harvesting kit.

Messy Projects will use their £9,800 grant to run the activities and events they missed due to the pandemic. Activities will include celebrating the Queens platinum jubilee, a BBQ, and a Bonfire party.

John Rose, Wales Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, said “These groups play a vital role in supporting their communities and these grants will allow them to continue being there for people in future. 

 ”National Lottery players raise more than £30 million each week for good causes across the UK and the projects funded over the past month show the crucial difference players make through their tickets. I look forward to following all of their progress.”  

Continue Reading


Tesco makes it even easier for shoppers in South Wales to help local food banks



TESCO is making it easier than ever for shoppers to give a helping hand to food banks and charities feeding people in their local community, with ready-prepared donation bags at local stores in South Wales this summer.

The Tesco Food Collection is taking place in every large Tesco store across the UK from Thursday, June 30 until Saturday, July 2, and shoppers are being urged to donate long-life food to support local food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network and thousands of frontline charities supplied by FareShare. Tesco will top up all food donations made during the collection with an extra 20% cash donation to support the two charities.

The pre-filled donation bags, available during the collection, will contain items that are most-needed by the local Trussell Trust foodbank or frontline charities supplied by FareShare.

Shoppers will be able to scan the contents at the till as part of their usual shop before dropping the bag into the food collection donation trolley.

It is one of a number of new ways that customers can give their support during this summer’s food collection. Shoppers can also for the first time round up their bill at the checkout to make a small donation to both the charities.

From this week it is also easier for customers who shop in Express stores to support the charities, with new permanent donation points being placed in every Tesco Express store in the UK for the first time, meaning shoppers will now be able to donate at Express stores year-round.

Shoppers can also donate their Tesco Clubcard points online to either of the charities.

Tesco Head of Community Claire de Silva said, “This collection marks ten years of us working with the Trussell Trust and FareShare. During that decade our customers have been amazingly generous, donating more than 100 million meals during our food collections and at permanent collection points in stores. This summer we wanted to make it even easier for customers to donate as we know that every can donated really does help.”

Donations are more important than ever as the charities have reported increasing need for food.

Sarah Germain, CEO at FareShare Cymru, said: “Our charities are telling us that the need for food has vastly increased as a result of the cost-of-living crisis, and over the last year we’ve continued to deliver four meals every second to people facing food insecurity across the UK.

“That’s why we would be immensely grateful to anyone who is able to donate a bag of pasta or tin of vegetables over the Tesco Food Collection weekend – your generous donations will help us continue providing vital support to families struggling to cope this summer.”

Emma Shepherd, Project Manager at the Trussell Trust Cardiff Foodbank, and Becky Morgan, Manager at the Trussell Trust Vale Foodbank, added: “Every year, we are amazed by the generosity of Tesco customers who donate to the Food Collection. We know that many families on the very lowest incomes have been forced to the doors of food banks to get by, as the nation faces a rapid rise in the cost of living and continues to recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic. So, once again, we are calling on shoppers to give generously and make a difference to people who need our support over the coming weeks and months.”

Continue Reading


Hywel Dda Health Charities’ annual Pet Competition is back



HYWEL DDA HEALTH CHARITIES, the official charity of Hywel Dda University Health Board, has launched its 2022 Pet Competition.

The competition gives members of the public the opportunity to win prizes while also helping the charity to raise funds which make a positive difference to the lives of NHS patients, service users and staff in the Hywel Dda area.

Owners of fabulous felines, perfect pooches, gorgeous guinea pigs or beautiful budgies are invited to enter the annual competition.

Pet-owners can enter as many times as they like in the categories of Cutest Dog, Cutest Cat and Cutest Other Pet. Each photo entry costs £3.

It’s easy to take part, all participants need to do is send a photo of their pet to and follow the instructions in this link:

The competition is open to everyone in the Health Board area. Entries close on 30th June 2022. The final three in each category will be chosen by the Hywel Dda Health Charities team. The winners are then chosen by an online voting poll and will be announced in July.

There are 1st place prizes in each category donated by Wynnstay, Burns Pet Food and Vincent Davies Department Stores.

Diane Henry, fundraising support officer, said: “Each time people enter our Pet Competition with pictures of their fabulous pets, they are helping us to provide services and activities above and beyond what the NHS can provide.. Thank you for your continued support.”

Continue Reading