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PATCH Celebrates 15 Years of Helping People in Pembrokeshire



SATURDAY, 3rd June 2013, marks the 15th anniversary of PATCH, a remarkable milestone in the organization’s journey of aiding individuals in overcoming hardship. Tracy Olin, the general manager, established PATCH with humble beginnings, and it has since flourished into a well-established institution. In 2022 alone, over 30,000 food parcels were distributed, illustrating the tremendous impact of their efforts. However, this year has posed new challenges, with a surge of approximately 30% in the demand for food parcels, and donations failing to meet the levels of the previous year. Dave Golding, the acting general manager, emphasizes the constant battle to ensure an adequate food supply.

The majority of the food distributed by PATCH is sourced from public donations. Individuals can either deliver contributions directly to our headquarters on Robert Street or place them in conveniently located collection baskets at local supermarkets. In addition to public support, PATCH also receives significant assistance from prominent local businesses, including Valero, Ascona, Milford Haven Port Authority, and various others, for which we are immensely grateful. Moreover, ordinary members of the public, who have experienced firsthand the challenges of putting food on the table, offer vital support. Previously, Pembrokeshire County Council has also provided financial aid.

Despite purchasing large quantities of food using financial grants, the demand for sustenance remains insatiable. This year, we are compelled to purchase food to maintain the support we provide, highlighting the urgency of our cause.

In addition to year-round food parcel distribution, PATCH organizes an annual Toy Appeal during the Christmas season. Once again, the success of this initiative hinges on the generosity of the public and local businesses, including Valero, Milford Haven Port Authority, Stena, and several supermarkets. The Toy Appeal aims to provide each referred child with at least five age-appropriate toys, along with the necessary wrapping paper, tags, and sellotape, all kindly delivered by our partner organization, FRAME. We are immensely grateful for their invaluable assistance, as well as the support of every individual who stands by our cause.

During the pandemic, PATCH was compelled to close all its outreach posts and shifted its focus to delivering food parcels with the aid of a dedicated team of volunteer drivers. While this approach was necessary at the time, it has become evident that it is not financially sustainable. Consequently, PATCH has recently made the decision to reopen its outreach posts, making it more convenient for referring agents and service users to collect food parcels. Currently, we have outreach Food Banks situated in “The Old Chapel” on Lower Frog Street, Tenby (open Tuesday to Saturday), and at The VC Gallery in Pembroke Dock, located in the old St Mary’s School near the Fire Station in Pembroke Dock (open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 am to 2 pm). Additionally, we have plans to open a Food Bank in “The Hive” on Goshawk Road, Haverfordwest, with the official date to be announced soon.

In addition to the Food Banks, we also operate a Charity Shop that opened its doors in September 2022. Once again, the success of this venture heavily relies on the generous contributions from the public. We are overwhelmed by the support we receive in the form of donated goods that we are able to sell, generating valuable income for the Food Bank.

Apart from relying on food and item donations for the shop, we are immensely grateful for the assistance of our volunteers. These dedicated individuals not only help prepare the food parcels but also contribute to the smooth operation of the shop. If you are reading this article and are able to spare a few hours to volunteer at one of our Food Banks or in the Shop (either on the shop floor or in the back room for sorting), please do not hesitate to contact us.

PATCH has come a long way since its inception, but the journey is far from over. As we celebrate 15 years of dedicated service to the community, we remain committed to our mission of supporting those in need. Together, with the collective efforts of Tracy Olin, Dave Golding, our partners, volunteers, and the kind-hearted members of the public, we strive to make a tangible difference in the lives of individuals facing adversity.


Two more shouts for the busy Angle RNLI crew



AT 5:47am on Sunday 16 (Jun 16), Angle All-Weather Lifeboat was requested to launch to assist a police incident at Hakin Point, Milford Haven.

The lifeboat launched and proceeded to a discreet location amongst the Cunjic moorings. After a short period, the incident was successfully resolved and the crew were stood down to return to station.

The lifeboat was back on her mooring and readied for further service by 6:45am.

A couple of days later on Tuesday (Jun 18) the crew were paged again at 11:52am following the activation of a SART (Search and Rescue Transponder) in the vicinity of Popton Fort/Valero western approach road.

The lifeboat launched and made best speed to the area with the intention of commencing a search. En route, the lifeboats Y boat was prepared to be deployed to search closer inshore.

Once on scene, the lifeboat was met by a Svitzer safety boat working on the site who informed them that they believed the activation to be from some scaffolders working on the jetty.

The lifeboat was manoeuvred as close to the jetty as possible, where the scaffolders were requested to work with the jetty operator to confirm if the activation had come from themselves.

Following around 30 minutes of investigation on scene it was confirmed that one of the worker’s lifejackets had been the cause of the activation. With the MMSI numbers from the activation matched, the crew were stood down by the Coastguard when it was confirmed that nobody was believed to be in difficulty.

The lifeboat was back on her mooring and ready for service once again around 1:30pm.

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Thousands enjoy RNLI Lifeboat Festival at Pembroke Castle



ON Father’s Day (Jun 16), more than 1,650 people descended on Pembroke Castle for a day of family fun at to mark 200 years of saving lives at sea for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

The medieval venue played host to the RNLI’s Lifeboat Festival and opened its gates for the public to meet local lifesavers and have fun while learning how to stay safe in the water with the RNLI Water Safety team.

Revellers enjoyed live music from Goodwick Brass Band, Henry Tudor School (Ysgol Harri Tudur) who showcased highlights from their upcoming performance of Peter Pan, Pembroke and District Male Voice Choir, shanty band Cockles and Mussels, Tenby Male Voice Choir, folk rockers Razor Bill, and Calico Jack.

The RNLI has been saving lives at sea for more than 200 years, in which time its volunteer lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved 146,452 lives – this equates to an average of two lives saved every day for 200 years.

The charity was founded in a London tavern on 4 March 1824 following an appeal from Sir William Hillary, who lived on the Isle of Man and witnessed many shipwrecks, the RNLI has continued saving lives at sea throughout the tests of its history, including tragic disasters, funding challenges and two World Wars.

Two centuries have seen vast developments in the lifeboats and kit used by the charity’s lifesavers – from the early oar-powered vessels to today’s technology-packed boats, which are now built in-house by the charity; and from the rudimentary cork lifejackets of the 1850s to the full protective kit each crew member is now issued with.

The RNLI’s lifesaving reach and remit has also developed over the course of 200 years. Today, it operates 238 lifeboat stations, including four on the River Thames, and has seasonal lifeguards on over 240 lifeguarded beaches around the UK and Ireland. It designs and builds its own lifeboats and runs domestic and international water safety programmes.

While much has changed in 200 years, two things have remained the same – the charity’s dependence on volunteers, who give their time and commitment to save others, and the voluntary contributions from the public which have funded the service for the past two centuries.

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Cosheston Open Gardens raises £4300 for brain tumour charity



A REMARKABLE £4300 was raised for The Brain Tumour Charity during the Cosheston Open Gardens event near Pembroke last weekend. On Saturday, 15th June, the usually quiet village saw its streets filled with visitors exploring the gardens both within the village and near the estuary. The event was well-signposted with special signage and adorned with floral displays, including a pot display at The Cross, Cosheston, sponsored by Grandiflora Nursery, with additional support from Milford Haven Port Authority for banners and programmes.

The village hall buzzed with activity throughout the day as visitors purchased from a well-stocked plant stall and enjoyed a variety of cakes and teas provided by Cosheston WI and community members. Local resident Ela Robinson showcased a delightful display of her porcelain flower craft work. Additionally, a raffle with prizes donated by community businesses raised £600 for the charity. In the afternoon, visitors enjoyed demonstrations on creating sedum baskets and simple floral displays.

Organisers Jane and Alan Mason expressed their gratitude, stating, “Many thanks to the friendly people of Pembrokeshire who came from all over the county and as far afield as Derbyshire to visit our gardens. We must have had several hundred people coming to the village. We are also grateful to over 66 members of the local community who came together to provide marshals, programme sales, signs, plants, and cakes. Our biggest disappointment was that we were all so busy the volunteers did not have time to visit the gardens ourselves.”

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