A TOTAL of £38,000 has been raised to date by community supporters for the purchase of a chapel for local housing and heritage centre at Hermon village, North Pembrokeshire.
This could be an option for so many communities where chapels and churches are closing.
The community supporters from near and far have supported the volunteers in Hermon village in reaching their goal of raising funds to purchase Brynmyrnach chapel located in the centre of the village for conversion into a new community asset with 2 flats for local people on the first floor and a community heritage centre on the ground floor.
The chapel elders have decided to sell the chapel as repairs to the roof and walls would be a considerable sum but they are adamant that the building needs to be retained for community and local housing needs.
The target sum needed to be raised is £50,000 and up to mid July a sum of £38,000 has been secured by people near and far.
The next public meeting is on Sunday, July 17, at 3pm in Brynmyrnach chapel- SA36 0DX.
Anyone who wishes to know more can attend along with those who have invested in the project.
The project is being promoted by Cris Tomos of PLANED. Cris explained “The new Heritage and Housing Trust would be a Community Benefit Society and limited company. Local people would be the shareholders in this cooperative housing venture that will have a local letting policy allowing affordable housing for local families and couples, this could be a blueprint for other communities to take on the chapels and churches that are closing”
The project has seen 19 Peer to Peer community lenders to date who are asked to invest for 36 months and have a guaranteed return of 1.75% per annum on the investment to help purchase the chapel.
Cris further explained. “We are seeking financial contributors in the same way as Canolfan Hermon Cooperative, 4CG Cooperative and Tafarn Sinc Cooperative attracted people to help save and develop local assets.
“Todate we have seen locals and people from MIlford Haven, Saundersfoot and Carmarthen supporting us with community loans. We are now seeking a final 6 investors to reach the target of 25 people to put in £2,000 each that will then allow us to match the funding required to purchase and start developing the old chapel for local housing and a heritage centre”
Anyone interested in knowing more can contact Cris on 07974099738 or email [email protected]
Additional information and a copy of the application form is now on the project Facebook page on www.facebook.com/hermonhousing
Ten Afghan refugee families could soon be homed in Pembrokeshire
SENIOR Pembrokeshire councillors are expected to back an MoD scheme which will see up to 10 Afghan refugee families homed in the county.
The MOD will be leasing 10 properties in Pembrokeshire to Afghan families who have a military connection, Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet, meeting on October 2, will hear.
In November 2021 Cabinet backed a call for support from the Home Office following the launch of the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS), launched in addition to the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP).
This offers eligible current or former locally employed staff (who worked for or with the UK Government) and who are assessed to be under serious threat to life, priority relocation to the UK.
At that time Cabinet agreed to support the scheme by offering to accommodate two families in the private rented sector.
Due to pressures in the private housing market, no Afghan families have yet been placed in Pembrokeshire.
A report for Cabinet members says: “Due to the strong military linkages that many resettled Afghans have due to the historic conflicts in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has put forward 10 houses (mix of three and some four-bed houses) based in Pembrokeshire for use by people arriving from Pakistan and their families.
“This is part of their nation-wide support for the ARAP scheme.
“Only families with a military connection will be able to access these properties, in line with the ARAP policy. These houses are currently being renovated by contractors commissioned by the MoD, to ensure they meet housing standards and should be available by November 30.”
It is proposed the properties are leased directly to the families; The MoD responsible for furnishing and maintaining the properties, and setting and collecting rent.
The report for members says concerns have been raised around community cohesion, mainly due to the 10 properties being located in one – unnamed – town, based on experiences in other counties.
“We would mitigate against this through robust communications and community events,” the report says, adding: “The police have not raised any concerns relating to this matter.”
In order to support the families, the council is able to access Home Office grant funding, available for three years at a total of £20,520 per person. If all 10 households were occupied the Authority would receive an estimated £620,000 to £820,000.
It is recommended that Cabinet support the MoD using the houses, with the Pembrokeshire Migration Partnership Board and delivery team managing the Afghan resettlement scheme using the infrastructure currently in place.
Choirs to sing for local charity, Paul Sartori Hospice at Home
TWO local choirs, the Paul Sartori Community Choir and Neyland Ladies Choir are collaborating to deliver an Evening Concert on Saturday 30th September 2023 at the Merlin Theatre, Pembrokeshire College in aid of Paul Sartori Hospice at Home. The concert will also feature solos from talented young musicians, including local singer Mared Phillips.
The Paul Sartori Community Choir has come a long way since it was founded in April 2022. It began as a way to unite the community and to raise awareness and much-needed funds for the local charity, known as Paul Sartori Hospice at Home. The choir, now a permanent fixture, has helped many find the joy of singing in an inclusive fun choir. It is led by Mark Heron, Musical Director, who has a special association with the charity, as he was christened by Father Paul Sartori himself (the inspiration for the charity). They delivered a successful performance recently at St Marys Church, Haverfordwest to a packed audience.
“It was a fantastic experience to perform to such a large, warm and welcoming audience at St Mary’s Church. The commitment and enthusiasm of choir members has blown me away, and I am sure the concert at Merlin Theatre will be another proud moment for me, as the choir stand in front of the audience and sing their hearts out once more,” said Mark.
The Neyland Ladies Choir was formed by the late Ivor Thomas in 1977, his intention being to restart a mixed choral society in Neyland, however only one gentleman turned up to rehearsal! They have recently celebrated their 45th anniversary with a celebration concert, which also commemorated the coronation of King Charles III. The choir enjoys a wide repertoire, performing at services and concerts locally and further afield, supporting many charities across Pembrokeshire. They have had a long association with the Paul Sartori Hospice at Home over many years and have regularly led the singing at the ‘Light up a Life’ ceremonies. The choir’s Musical Director is Lynne Kelleher and Accompanist is Miranda Davies.
“We have great pleasure in joining the Paul Sartori Community Choir to share music and once again raise vital funds for this fantastic cause,” said Lynne.
Tickets for the Evening Concert are available on the charity’s website or by phoning 01437 763223.
The Paul Sartori Community Choir is a relatively young choir, which was set up following a successful grant award from the Community Changemakers Fund delivered by South West Wales Connected (SWWCo); Great Western Railway (GWR); Transport for Wales (TFW) and 4theRegion. More recently they benefitted from a grant from the National Lottery Community Fund. The group have also been supported by local companies including Sigma Display who sponsored their a-frame promotional board.
Paul Sartori Hospice at Home provide a range of services to Pembrokeshire people living in the final stages of a life-limiting illness and the Paul Sartori Community Choir extends the support to the wider community. For further information on the charity and its services visit their website www.paulsartori.org or phone 01437 763223.
Photo: (press release picture) Picture of the Paul Sartori Community Choir (at St Marys Church) and Neyland Ladies Choir
Pembrokeshire Coast projects receive recognition at National Park Protector Awards
TWO projects that help people volunteer and enjoy a range of activities in Pembrokeshire’s great outdoors were recently recognised in the 2023 National Park Protector Awards, which recognise the individuals and groups who go above and beyond in and for National Parks.
Roots to Recovery, which is run in partnership between Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and Mind Pembrokeshire, was named runner up in the New Perspectives Category of the awards, which celebrates the people, projects or initiatives that champion and inspire diversity and inclusion in National Parks.
Roots to Recovery is a people-led project about the restorative powers of Pembrokeshire’s amazing outdoors. People of all abilities learn new skills and enjoy a range of activities such as wildlife walks, arts and crafts, conservation work, well-being sessions and gardening activities.
The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Next Generation, made up of the Authority’s Youth Rangers and Youth Committee was also shortlisted in the New Perspectives category.
Maisie Sherratt, National Park Authority Roots to Recovery Officer/Inclusion and Youth Engagement Officer, said: “I’m so proud of the hard work and commitment that everyone involved with these projects put in. Thank you to everyone for your constant support and words of encouragement.”
National Park Authority Chief Executive, Tegryn Jones, added: “I was extremely proud that two projects from the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park had been shortlisted, continuing the strong tradition of previous winners and finalists we’ve had in the last few years.
“These two projects highlight some of the different ways the Park Authority is working to engage people from a range of ages, backgrounds and abilities to explore how the National Park can benefit them and how they can help make the Park a better place for others.”
As the participants in both projects were unable to attend the awards ceremony in the Houses of Parliament in London, a special evening was held at Oriel y Parc Gallery and Visitor Centre in St Davids to celebrate their achievements, alongside the organisations and individuals that have supported them.
Also in attendance were representatives from the Eco Dewi group, who were runners up in 2022.
The National Park Protector Awards are organised by the Campaign for National Parks each year to recognise individuals and groups who go above and beyond in and for National Parks. From large-scale projects that help nature recover to grass-roots groups improving community access to National Parks and volunteers helping people to visit responsibly.
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