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Goods Shed: ‘Now the hard work really begins’

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Inside the Goods Shed (Pic Darren Harries)

Inside the Goods Shed (Pic Darren Harries)

THE LLANELLI Goods Shed Project has received further good news recently, after it was awarded funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales.

The £58,000 development grant followed hot on the heels of a similar grant of £50,000 from the Big Lottery Fund.

However, as one of the trustees said: ‘Now the hard work really begins.’

The ground-breaking Goods Shed project aims to restore the derelict Grade II Listed building in Marsh Street and bring it back into life as a dynamic multi-purpose hub for the community.

The whole scheme is currently estimated to cost £1.7m.

It’s a hugely ambitious idea and the biggest independent project of its kind in West Wales.

The cash went into a total budget pot of £133,800 of development funding which will give the project lift-off.

The development funding will allow us to do the preparation work of reports from surveyors and architects and planning permissions. That work is underway.

Lead architects (Cardiff-based Davies Sutton, award-winning conservation architects) have been appointed.

Surveyors were hard at work on the site this week and last week. All that activity is a sign of a project taking shape.

But it’s a project which needs the support of the community of Llanelli and beyond – from local residents living close to the site to other interested groups who (we hope) will come from far and wide to use the building.

Of crucial importance to us now is taking the people of Llanelli with us on the journey to completing this project.

We will be consulting with the public as we finalise the plans for the building.

And we remain open to ideas from all stakeholders and interested groups and individuals for the future use of the building.

The Goods Shed charity’s trustees appreciate there is no monopoly on good ideas and we suspect that many very innovative uses for the building will be provided by the wider community.

The latest announcement from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is a huge boost for the project and represents another important part of our funding jigsaw.

Both the HLF and Big Lottery fund grants carry passes into a Round Two of further capital funding – and that is where much of the hard work will be required in coming months.

We are grateful to Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund Wales for showing confidence in the project. Accessing grant funding is an incredibly competitive and challenging business nowadays, so we thank both organisations for recognising that we have a project here in the Goods Shed that is worthy of support.

To get to this stage, we have already received support from Carmarthenshire County Council and the Architectural Heritage Fund. Both HLF and Big Lottery Fund have been extremely helpful in guiding us through the grants process.

In addition to the development funding, we also have a pledge of £400,000 in capital/building works funding from the Railway Heritage Trust.

All that we have achieved so far is down to the support we have received from the people of Llanelli and we look forward to counting on their further support as the project starts to gather up a greater head of steam.

Our project will breathe new life into the building and our current plans involve establishing a multi-purpose community hub to include offices, arts facilities, a cafe and a heritage experience.

Once the building is renovated and in daily use it will be a huge improvement for this area, near Llanelli Railway Station, and will be a real boost for the local community.

As project officer, I will be working closely with the local community and interested groups, organisations and individuals over the next few weeks as we begin to lock down our plans for the site.

Of course, the key player in the whole project is Network Rail, the current owners of the Goods Shed site.

We have been working closely with Network Rail in recent years to secure the site. Their cooperation in helping us progress the project is greatly appreciated.

The Big Lottery’s CAT2 (capital asset transfer) scheme is all about bringing buildings back into community use.

For those unfamiliar with the site, the former Llanelli Railway Goods Shed is an imposing Grade II listed building situated alongside the main railway line just east of Llanelli Station.

Built in 1875, it is one of the few surviving examples in Wales. In fact, we have looked, but have not yet found anything that resembles it in Wales. It is built in the classic ‘Brunel’ style.

The shed has been unused for many years and has sadly fallen into a state of disrepair.

In 2011, the Llanelli Railway Goods Shed Trust was formed with a view to restoring the building and bringing it back into use for the benefit of the community.

The Goods Shed is sited on the former South Wales Railway that ran from Chepstow to Fishguard.

The Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates, visited the Goods Shed as part of a fact-finding tour of west Wales’ heritage sites.

Mr Skates said: “I was delighted to see at first hand the hard work being put into the Llanelli Railway Goods Shed Trust project.

“It’s an ambitious plan for an area which needs investment and rejuvenation and the energy and enthusiasm shown by the Trust members, volunteers and project supporters is impressive.

“The proposals set out by the Trust are supportive of the aims and objectives of our Historic Environment (Wales) Bill and wider policy, which aims to improve the management and protection of our historic environment, including finding sustainable solutions for future use of historic buildings, such as these proposed for the Goods Shed. I wish the Trust the very best in their efforts.”

It is associated with the nearby station buildings with both groups of buildings dating from a growth in the tinplate industry that was centred on Llanelli.

The Goods Shed remains as an example of a particular type of functional building and is included on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, Grade II.

WHAT WILL THE GOODS SHED HOUSE?

The building is divided into four parts – main office block, large railway good shed platform hall, basement and steel canopy (this is also Listed status).

Some of the ideas include transforming the main office block into rental accommodation for startup businesses and social enterprises; providing a meeting space for community groups; and providing coworker space for creative industries.

It is hoped that the main shed will host exhibitions focusing on Llanelli’s railway history and the town’s industrial past; along with a restaurant and space for community group activities, private hire events, and exhibition space.

Options are also being considered for the basement, outside area, and canopy area.

These are ‘ideas’ at present and the trust will spend time consulting with local residents and a wide range of community groups, organisations and individuals to establish what the community needs and wants in the shed.

HOW DOES THE PROJECT ‘STACK UP’ FINANCIALLY?

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 15.04.27

One of the frequently asked questions on the project is: How does it stack up financially?

The figure of £138,000 is the amount of money the trust ‘needs’ to complete development works.

So far, the trust has been given £58,800 of Heritage Lottery Fund Wales money and £50,000 of Big Lottery Wales CAT2 funding.

Other funds have been received from Carmarthenshire County Council and the Architectural Heritage Fund. Fund-raising, other donations and contributions, charity reserves and other non-cash contributions (such as gifted equipment) and volunteer time will make up the balance for the development stage of the project.

The main bill for the capital costs – the actual building refurbishment and renovation and other construction costs will come to an estimated £1.76m, with work on the project scheduled to commence in 2017.

Of that sum, £400,000 has already been secured by the trustees from the Railway Heritage Trust.

The rest of the money will come from the Stage 2 capital funding bids being submitted to Big Lottery Wales and the Heritage Lottery Fund (Wales) and other funding sources, including European funding, other grant funders, other charitable trusts, commercial sponsorship arrangements, individual donors and sponsors and fund-raising.

TRUSTEES

There are eight members of the Llanelli Railway Goods Shed Trust. Headed by MP Nia Griffith, the other members are Richard Roper, secretary, Martin Doe, treasurer, Ken Jones, heritage officer, George Parker, technical officer, Councillor Roger Price, Charles Watson and the Rev Eldon Phillips.

The eight Trustees have a wide range of relevant skills and experience.

Nia Griffith has been MP for Llanelli since 2005 and is currently the Shadow Secretary of State for Wales.

Richard Roper spent his entire working career with British Rail/ Railtrack/Network Rail before his retirement in 2002.

Martin Doe is a solicitor in private practice in Cardiff. He has a wide range of experience in community projects.

George Parker is a director of the award-winning Parker Brothers Contractors and Parker Plant Hire in Llanelli.

Rev Eldon Phillips is widely known in Llanelli and beyond for his work as a vicar and for his contributions to the community and charitable life of the town.

Ken Jones is an experienced heritage enthusiast with a wide knowledge of planning issues and community-based project and organisations.

Roger Price is a former Mayor of Llanelli and a teacher.

Charles Watson has worked in construction, industry and logistics. He is a committee member with Llanelli Disabled Drivers Association.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

You can join the Friends of the Llanelli Railway Goods Shed Trust for a £10 annual subscription. The membership offers invitations to regular fund-raising events and newsletters on the progress of the project. You can join by emailing the treasurer, Martin Doe, on – mdoe@etlp.co.uk

The trust will soon be in a position to start recruiting volunteers. Initial tasks are likely to include help with research and the publication of a booklet on the history of the shed and a leaflet on the projected uses for the shed. In future months, there are likely to be opportunities for painting and decorating work and light site clearance works. Donations towards the cost of the project are welcome at all stages. Please contact the treasurer by emailing Martin Doe on: mdoe@etlp.co.uk

The charity trustees are also looking to extend the membership of the trustees.

Key areas of experience will include: Finance; project management; procurement; facilities; and café/centre management.

If you think you can help as a volunteer or trustee, please send a full CV to project officer Robert Lloyd – 07777 683637 email-rlloydpr@btinternet.com

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Family of power station worker calls on former colleagues to help with asbestos claim

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THE WIFE of a Carmarthenshire man, who was just 66 when he died of an asbestos-related cancer, is calling on colleagues who worked with him in the 1970s to help understand where and how he contracted the disease.

Peter Colton, from Llanelli, died in July 2021 after being diagnosed with the asbestos-related disease, mesothelioma.

He worked as a conveyor and weighbridge operator for the CEGB at Carmarthen Bay Power Station. During his time at the power station, his duties included offloading coal wagons and conveying coal to the boilers.

It is possible that Mr Colton was exposed to asbestos during those years and now his family has sought the help of local asbestos specialists J.M Parsons, to investigate a claim for compensation.

Ann Colton, Mr Colton’s wife, wants answers. She said: “Peter was diagnosed with mesothelioma and died just six weeks later. He had been suffering from shortness of breath and just had no quality of life.

“It was devastating to see someone who had been so healthy and active slowly get worse and worse. We just want to know where and how he was exposed to asbestos and hope someone out there can help us.”

According to data from the Health and Safety Executive, annual mesothelioma deaths in Britain increased steeply over the last 50 years, a consequence of mainly occupational asbestos exposures that occurred because of the widespread industrial use of asbestos during 1950-1980.

Amanda Jones is one of the specialists at J.M Parsons, which is owned by Thompsons Solicitors. Thompsons has paved the way for asbestos litigation in the UK ever since it brought about the first successful asbestos disease claim to the House of Lords in 1972, 50 years ago.

She said: “We would be grateful to hear from anyone who remembers working with Peter Colton in Carmarthen Bay Power Station in the 1970s or anyone who worked in the same field as Peter beyond the 1970s.

“Such individuals will be invaluable to Mr Colton’s family as they may be able to add important information that will assist us in building a civil claim. We hope that we will then be able to answer questions about the conditions that Mr Colton worked in during his working life.”

Anyone with information should contact Amanda Jones on 01554 779940, or via email at amanda@jmplaw.co.uk.

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Business

Carmarthenshire cheese maker secures Co-op listing

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Caws Cenarth award

A CHEESEMAKER from Carmarthenshire has secured its first listing with the Co-op as part of the retailer’s continued focus on local and community sourcing.

Family-owned Caws Cenarth, which has cheese making in the family dating back to 1903, will now see two of its cheeses listed in more than 20 Co-op stores across the region.

Made on farm in Glyneithinog, Caws Cenarth will supply Co-op with its Organic Caerffili – which has a light and lemony taste with hints of sea salt – and, one of its best known cheeses the Organic Perl Las Mini – which is described as a blue cheese, golden in colour, with a creamy, gently salty taste that grows stronger with maturity.

Carwyn Adams, whose parents rekindled the family tradition for cheese making in 1987 with the creation of Caws Cenarth, said: “We are absolutely thrilled. I shop in our local Co-op and regularly thought how nice it would be to see our cheese on the shelf and, now that is to become a reality. Working with Co-op will support our business development, and raise awareness of our cheeses, not only across the region, but also further afield as visitors to the area often look for local produce to take back home with them as gifts or to remind them of their stay in the area.”

Jo Wadsworth, Co-op’s Community Buying Manager, said: “We are delighted to welcome Caws Cenarth onto our shelves. We know that our Members and customers value the quality and provenance of locally produced food and drink and, here at the Co-op we are focussed on supporting local suppliers as part of our commitment to creating value and making a difference in our local communities.”

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Education

Carmarthenshire Council offers career opportunities through new Care Academi 

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Cllr Jane Tremlett, Cabinet Member for Social Care

CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council has launched a new Care Academi which offers exciting opportunities to those looking for a career in social work or social care.

Open to all ages, the Academi will provide training, support and guidance to successful applicants, enabling them to earn while they learn and choose a career path that suits them best.

With a blend of on-the-job training and education, there are various opportunities to explore the variety of social care and social work roles on offer.

All applicants must have a minimum of two GCSEs (grade A* – D) or equivalent in English, Welsh or Maths.

Cllr Jane Tremlett, Cabinet Member for Social Care said: “Our new Care Academi offers fantastic opportunities to those looking for a career in social work or care.

“Successful applicants could achieve a degree in social work or a level five management qualification, but there are also opportunities throughout the programme to find an alternative role that suits you best if completing a degree isn’t for you.

“If you are motivated, have a positive attitude and are looking for the first exciting step in a new career then we want to hear from you and welcome your application.”

For more information or to apply please visit www.Carmarthenshire.gov.wales/careacademi 

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