Welsh icon Cerys Matthews has honoured an inspirational Caerphilly hero with a National Lottery Award in recognition of her incredible work in the community.
Musician, author, and broadcaster, Cerys Matthews MBE, presented Katherine Hughes with her prize today after it was announced she had won the UK-wide Community and Charity category in the 2021 National Lottery Awards.
The National Lottery Awards celebrate the inspirational people and organisations across the UK who have done extraordinary things with National Lottery funding.
More than 1500 nominations were received in this year’s campaign and a judging panel selected Katherine Hughes, a volunteer and the Secretary of Caerphilly Miners' Centre for the Community (The Miners), as the UK winner for her unwavering voluntary efforts over the years and as one of the driving forces behind saving the historic local landmark for future generations.
When plans to close and demolish the former Miners’ hospital in Caerphilly were announced 15 years ago, volunteer Katherine, 72, was at the forefront of the community group that helped save the building. With the hospital on her doorstep, when she heard about the plans to knock it down, she used her background of working as a town planner and community development consultant to lead the charge and rally the community to take it over.
Katherine, who lives a short walk away from ‘The Miners’, helped to establish Caerphilly Miners’ Centre group in 2008, shortly after she overcame treatment for cancer. After a 99-year lease on the building was secured and with the support of £250,000 from The National Lottery, the building was refurbished and reopened in 2015. Katherine said it would have been a "travesty" if the building - where many generations of South Wales families had their babies - had been demolished.
It’s now a fully accessible vibrant hub for the community where people of all ages and abilities are able to access a wide range of affordable services and activities. This includes a packed calendar of language, art, fitness, knitting, computer and dance classes, as well as buddy schemes and other social activities.
With no sign of stopping, Katherine continues to be heavily involved as a volunteer steward and group leader, as well as the centre secretary. She has helped keep all ages engaged during the pandemic and even went round older members to show them how to use Zoom so they could keep in touch.
All of this year’s winners, including Katherine, will receive a £3,000 cash prize for their organisation, along with an iconic National Lottery Awards trophy.
Cerys Matthews travelled to the Caerphilly Miners Centre to present Katherine Hughes with her award. She was joined by the Chair of The National Lottery Community Fund, Blondel Cluff CBE, to congratulate Katherine on her achievement.
Delighted to be announced as the winner, Katherine said: “I’m absolutely gobsmacked and thrilled to have won the award. The National Lottery’s support has played a vital role in getting the centre up and running and I’m delighted to receive this recognition. I’m so proud of how far we’ve come and the community we’ve built here. I would like to dedicate this award to all the other volunteers and people in the community who have worked tirelessly to save the building and who continue to make this the special place that it is today.”
Presenting Katherine with her Award, musician, author, and broadcaster, Cerys Matthews, said: “I’m thrilled to present Katherine with a National Lottery Award for her unwavering voluntary efforts over the years.
“She is a shining light, a remarkable community champion as one of the driving forces behind saving this historic local landmark for future generations.
“I’m sure people in Caerphilly are immensely proud of her monumental efforts. But I’d also like to say thank you to everyone who plays the National Lottery: You make projects like the Caerphilly Miners Centre possible - and your support now is more crucial than ever.”
The Chair of The National Lottery Community Fund, Blondel Cluff CBE, said: “This award is very well-deserved - Katherine’s drive to save this historic building and transform it into a vibrant space for her local community is truly inspirational. It is humbling that there are thousands of dedicated volunteers, like Katherine, doing extraordinary things with National Lottery funding and supporting their communities to prosper and thrive across the UK. The ultimate in recycling!”
Thanks to National Lottery players, more than £30 million goes to good causes across the UK every week, which in turn helps people like Katherine Hughes continue to carry out incredible work in their communities.
Congratulations Katherine, and thank you from us all!
The story behind the beautiful, knitted Christmas tree on display at our Centre!
6th December 2021
For many years Caerphilly Benefice Mothers’ Union members have been knitting rectangles and folding them into ‘leaves’ for a Christmas tree. This forms the central tree of the annual Christmas tree festival. Sadly this year the big tree is taking up too much space and can’t be homed at St Martin’s. So they’ve very kindly agreed to display the finished tree at the Miners. The frame for the tree has been made by St Martin’s school pupils, the leaves have been made by the Mothers’ Union and friends and the decorations are a cherished collection made over many years. After Christmas the tree will be dismantled and the ‘leaves’ made into blankets for homeless and needy people, with a Blessing of all the blankets at the end of January. Caerphilly Miners have been invited to contribute to this, as we have in years gone by. We’d like to thank the Mothers’ Union for letting us display this lovely tree and we hope all the visitors to the Miners will share in our enjoyment.
VOLUNTEER WHO HELPED SAVE AND TRANSFORM CAERPHILLY LANDMARK UP FOR MAJOR AWARD
A Caerphilly volunteer who helped save a historic local landmark from demolition and transform it into a vibrant community hub is in line for recognition after being nominated for a 2021 National Lottery Award.
Katherine Hughes, a volunteer, and the Secretary of Caerphilly Miners' Centre for the Community (The Miners), has been shortlisted in the Community category of this year’s National Lottery Awards.
The National Lottery Awards are the annual search for the UK’s favourite National Lottery funded people and projects and they celebrate the inspirational individuals and groups who do extraordinary things in their community, especially during these challenging times.
Katherine has been nominated for her dedicated and unwavering voluntary efforts over the years and as one of the driving forces behind saving the former Caerphilly Miners’ Hospital for future generations to enjoy. The 71-year-old is flying the flag for Wales and is one of only five individuals from across the UK nominated for a community award.
When plans to close and demolish the historic landmark were announced 15 years ago, Katherine was at the forefront of the community group that helped save the building which is steeped in history. Originally a private residence, local miners raised funds to purchase the building in 1919 and convert it into a hospital for miners and their families. For almost 90 years, Caerphilly Miners’ Hospital served the local community.
When Katherine heard about the plans to knock it down, she used her background of working as a town planner and community development consultant to lead the charge and rally the community to take it over.
Caerphilly Miners Centre for the Community (The Miners) was established in 2008 and with the support of National Lottery funding, the building was refurbished and reopened in 2015. It’s now a vibrant hub for the community where people of all ages and abilities are able to access a wide range of affordable services and activities. This includes language, art, fitness, knitting and dance classes, as well as buddy schemes and other social activities. The Miners is owned by its members and shaped by its trustees and volunteers like Katherine.
Delighted to be nominated, Katherine, who still actively volunteers at the centre, said: “I was speechless when I found out I had been nominated. The National Lottery has played a vital role in getting this project up and running and in supporting our activities and ambitious plans over the years.”
“The centre has been a lifeline for many during the pandemic and it would have been a travesty if the building had been demolished. I had seen many iconic buildings across South Wales fall into decay for lack of support, but I believed that The Miners could offer a much-needed community resource. I love volunteering here and being a part of a project in my own community is so rewarding and special. It is great being part of such an inspirational and vibrant project, with community members and volunteers from all walks of life coming together to support our common cause.”
This year, more than 1,500 people were nominated for a National Lottery Award in recognition of the work they have carried out with the help of National Lottery funding.
Next month a panel, made up of representatives of The National Lottery and partners, will decide the winners in each category from a shortlist of five.
Winners will be revealed in the autumn and will receive a £3,000 cash prize for their organisation and a coveted National Lottery Awards trophy.
Jonathan Tuchner, from The National Lottery, said: “Since 1994, The National Lottery has made a huge positive impact on life across the UK. Thanks to National Lottery players and the £36 million raised each week for good causes, thousands of organisations are making an incredible impact and difference in their local areas.
“The National Lottery Awards honour those who have stepped up and stood out like Katherine, who work tirelessly for their community. They deserve great praise and our thanks for their incredible work.”
Encompassing all aspects of National Lottery good causes funding, the 2021 National Lottery Awards will recognise outstanding individuals in the following sectors:
Culture, Arts & Film
There will be a special Young Hero Award for someone under the age of 18 who has gone that extra mile in their organisation.
In September a public vote will be held to find The National Lottery Project of the Year, while online polls will take place after the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games to determine the winner of The National Lottery Olympian and Paralympian awards.
We want to stay in touch with our community in different ways.
Below is a list of current paid and volunteering opportunities
as well as news and stories from our community.
Jobs and Volunteering opportunities
Environmental Projects Administrator: Climate Change - 8 hours a week until April 2023
Finance Officer - 1 - 2 days a week
For more information please contact: Katherine Hughes email@example.com 029 2167 4242
Caerphilly Miners’ Centre for the Community is looking for new Trustees to join our Board.
We are a community owned and run charity established to restore the former Caerphilly Miners Hospital for the benefit of the community. By offering accessible, affordable, and relevant activities, we hope to support wellbeing, tackle social isolation, secure community resilience and address inequality, poverty and economic exclusion. To achieve this, we provide spaces for community activity, run our own activities to support older people's mobility and social interaction, early years play, children's crafts and gardening, arts and crafts, language classes, a community cafe, and digital support. We also offer outreach and online activities and are creating a large climate change garden project and sustainable development innovations.
We support over 50 volunteers who help with stewarding, administration, running projects, catering, gardening, and fundraising activities.
We are currently refurbishing our upper floors in order to expand our community hub, providing further space for community activities, supporting new ways of working and accommodating up to 10 new businesses.
We are specifically looking for trustees with the following skills or knowledge:
Specific skills required:
Business development experience
Knowledge of sustainability, climate change and/or environmental skills
IT / digital skills
In addition to the above specific roles we are also looking for trustees that don’t need specific qualifications or skills but will need to:
Understand and accept the responsibilities and liabilities as trustees
Be non-judgmental and respect views, values and cultures that are different to your own
Have good listening, verbal and written communication skills
Be able to exercise good independent judgment
Have good numeracy skills to understand accounts with the support of the treasurer
Have an interest in community development (ideally the Caerphilly community)
Be willing to undertake training in your role.
Trustees currently meet monthly online.
If you are interested in becoming a trustee, please send a copy of your CV with covering letter by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Closing date: 14 June & 26 July 2021
If you would like to discuss flexibility around location, time, ‘what you will do’ and how we can support you please contact us.
Maintenance works at Caerphilly Miners Centre for the Community🏗👷♂️🧱
An update on our restoration works.⚠️
The restoration project to the first floor of the Miner’s Centre is on track. We apologise for disruption this work may be causing some residents nearby, but just to reassure you it is a vital project that makes the building safer and fit for the long term.
The project will restore a derelict part of the building and make it a valuable resource for the enjoyment of our community.
For information - the noisy dusty work of clearing out the site will finish at the end of March 2021. The overall project will continue for 20 weeks and will be between the hours of 8am-4pm.
We hope to complete by the end of July and will be happy to give a tour to anyone that would like to see the results of the restoration project as soon as it is safe to do so. Again, we can but apologise for the temporary disruption.
If you want any further information or have any queries, please contact:
Katherine Hughes, email@example.com 02921 674242
A bench in memory of Dorothy
We’d like to thank Joan Garratt for donating this bench to Caerphilly Miners Centre in December 2020 from a legacy left by her friend Dorothy Tilley.
Dorothy was one of the first of our community to become a member of the project in 2010. She supported us in whatever way she could until her death last year.
Joan is also a great friend of the Miners and has been an active member of the Elderberries, Cinema Club and Chair Exercises and a great supporter of our events.
The bench will become the focal point of an ‘area of reflection’ as part of the development of a climate change garden at the Miners. Joan is looking forward to the centre being able to open for people to enjoy the bench and the surroundings and use it as an opportunity to relax and reflect on the beauty of nature. Thank you Joan and Dorothy!
A bench in memory of Dorothy
at the Miners’ Centre.
Joan and Dorothy - taken at Joan’s 90th birthday party, celebrated at the Miners in August 2019.
Canolfan y Glowyr Caerffili Miners' Centre, Grwp Cymraeg / Welsh Group
Bore da. Mae twrnament rygbi y chwe gwlad wedi dod i ben o'r diwedd. Diolch i bawb a gefnogodd y sweep. Chris Madeley enillodd. Llongyfarchiadau mawr iddo. Mae'r pwyllgor yn diolch i Chris am gyfrannu ei enillion yn ôl at waith y 'Grwp Cymraeg' a thrwy hynny, helpu i godi £245.00 i'r coffre.
6 Nations Rugby Sweep
The Six Nations rugby tournament has come to an end. Thanks to all who supported the sweep. We are pleased to say that Chris Madeley won the competition. Congratulations to Chris. The committee would like to thank Chris for donating his winnings back to the 'Miners Welsh Group' thus helping to raise £245.00 for the funds.
In Memory of Doreen Ellis
Doreen was the first treasurer at the Miners' Centre and she set up and managed the membership scheme. She worked hard at building this important aspect of the charity, she also supported the wider work of the Miners and the other volunteers in any way she could.
This led to her receiving the volunteer of the year award in 2015, in recognition of her hard work, dedication and commitment, before ill health took its toll. Doreen was a great friend to many, a wise counsel and a great supporter of everything the Miners did, she made a huge difference to us all and we will miss her very much.
We’d like to thank Doreen’s son Ty and daughter Julie for nominating Caerphilly Miners Centre for donations in her memory. This raised nearly £500 which will be used within our “Area of Reflection” in our Climate Change Garden of the Future. Doreen believed in supporting local, she loved the Miners, and her legacy will live on.
October 2020 Fire Break update
As part of the Wales-wide Fire Break, Caerphilly Miners Centre will be closed from Friday 23rd October at 6 pm to Monday 9th November.
The Osteopath Clinic will stay open throughout the Fire Break.
We will continue to offer all we can online throughout the Fire Break period and we will host the following activities on Zoom for the next two weeks.
Dance 50+ 1.30-2.30
Seated dance 2.30-3.30
Welsh Conversation 3.30-4.30
Fitness Dance 5.00 – 6.00
Spanish improvers 7.00-8.30
Chair Exercises 1.30-2.30
Unfortunately, we are unable to host our Stay and Play, Yoga classes, the Slimming World sessions or Gateway Church’s Youth project.
We are working hard to offer as much as we can digitally, we are continuing to support class tutors to run activities on zoom, the digital project has provided equipment and guidance for people wanting to participate remotely and we will continue to do all we can to reach out to our community through social restrictions and physical isolation.
We are developing tools to stay connected with you and we appreciate all your endeavours to stay connected with us, We thank you for your ongoing support.
There will be no charge for these activities over the fire break period.
If you would like to take part in any of our Zoom activities please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we will provide you with a link and guidance.
Breaking down barriers
Including the digitally excluded
Caerphilly Miners Centre for the Community held a training class last week for the Elderberries, the older members of the Miners’ Centre, on how to use a tablet to access virtual activities and Zoom events. This follows a new move by the Miners Centre to start holding online activities following COVID social restrictions and lockdowns which meant their members could no longer meet face-to-face.
Many people in the Caerphilly community have been feeling increasingly isolated, lonely and anxious, but many have been reluctant to embrace virtual meetings and new technology for a variety of reasons.
Regional Member of the Senedd Delyth Jewell commended the Miners Centre on the work they have done to date but acknowledged there is still more to do:
“It has been good to see how the Miners moved quickly to keep engaging with their community, this has benefitted so many people throughout the initial lockdown. As we move into a new period of social restrictions more needs to be done to reach the hard to reach, to bring more people on this digital journey and keep us all connected and more resilient. I’m keen to share the lessons learned at the Miners Centre with other communities.”
Geraint King, a local IT support consultant at the Miners, decided to set up a session for those who have been digitally excluded:
“I want to do all I can to support those that haven’t been able to join the online activities at the Miners. Many have been missing their friends and we need to support them in breaking down the technical and emotional barriers that are keeping them isolated. I decided to set up a class to help more people get online and on Zoom, and to encourage peer support. It’s been very rewarding and hopefully will make a real difference. I am planning more sessions over the coming weeks.”
The first class had a mixture of abilities, some with basic knowledge joined in virtually to learn more, others started from scratch, Dorothy had no online experience, never having used email and doesn’t own a tablet:
“The first class was so useful, it has given me the confidence to try more things on my own, and the loan of the table from the Miners’ Centre means I can join future classes from home as I don’t enjoy leaving the house in dark and wet conditions and now there is the extra worry of Covid. I feel I have been given a lifeline to new social opportunities.”
Sue is another member of the Elderberries who has recently embraced virtual activities at the Miners:
“I have been trying to do more online as I have been feeling increasingly isolated from my friends as we used to meet every week at the Miners. I have been able to borrow a tablet with some easy to use instructions to access the centre on zoom and it’s great to be able to see my friends and take part in socials again. The class with Geraint was excellent.”
Many people have a fear of technology, don’t know where to start or don’t have the equipment to begin their digital journey, but with increasing levels of anxiety, depression, isolation and loneliness, we all need to support those most in need. There are schemes and support networks in every community. Geraint urges everyone to reach out:
“Please get in touch if you need advice, I want to help as many people as possible break down any barriers to staying connected through lockdown and beyond.”
If you’re based in the Caerphilly community, you can get in touch with the Miners Centre for advice or support on their digital activities (029 2167 4242 | email@example.com) If you are interested in supporting this project by becoming a digital volunteer please contact Geraint King on firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to know more about what digital support is available in your community you can get in touch with your local Wales Cooperative Centre (0300 111 5050 | email@example.com).
The Miners Centre were fortunate in receiving funding from the Moondance Foundation for technical support and equipment, as a result the Centre employed the services of Geraint King, a local IT support consultant. Geraint has supported the move to a hybrid offering and has recently set up training sessions for those who have been digitally excluded.
For more information on Caerphilly Miners Centre for the Community please get in touch with:
The Miners, Watford Road, Caerphilly CF83 1BJ
firstname.lastname@example.org | 029 2167 4242
Caerphilly Miners Centre is open for business
Along with many other organisations, back in March 2020 Caerphilly Miners Centre for the Community had to close its doors and moved as many activities as possible online. It moved classes and social events onto Zoom, it set up a buddying scheme for more isolated and those not online and did everything it could to keep engaged with the community.
Now that the Government has moved to a new phase of COVID-19 restrictions the Miners are able to open up to certain groups and for certain classes, but many from the community are still choosing to participate remotely. To this end the Miners have decided to offer a hybrid solution to some classes and activities, those that can attend in person (which will be about a third of previous numbers due to social distancing measures) are welcomed back at the centre, while others can join in online.
In addition, in July the Miners launched an appeal to raise funds for a large gazebo, which can house outdoor classes for young and old, they raised nearly £1000 thanks to generous support form the community, and have already hosted children’s stay and play groups, Elderberry socials, a Vera Lynn event and dance classes.
The move to a hybrid offering has been welcomed by class teachers as well as the community. Ceri Griffiths runs French classes at the Miners and has embraced the move to mixing participation between online and those attending in person:
“I’m really pleased to be able to offer French classes to those that want to come along to the Miners as well as those that want to join in from their homes. I think its important that we offer people the choice and the Miners Centre has moved quickly to be able to put the technology in place to do this, and as a teacher I want to make sure all my students are safe and happy. It’s so exciting, our hybrid classes will be starting back on the 7th September, please get in touch if you want to join or find out more.”
Ceri Jenkins is a member of the Art Class which has been meeting online for a few weeks and has recently also offered some outdoor classes from the Gazebo:
“It is good we can still do our classes and make up our own minds whether we want to turn up in person or take part online. Its lovely to feel part of a group activity and to know that the more vulnerable in the group can join in at home. This is the way more things will be moving now and it’s great to see so many of the older class members embracing Zoom.”
The Miners Centre is opening up new classes every week, from children’s’ activities, to exercise and language classes so social events and Family Fitness Fridays! More information can be found on their website www.caerphillyminerscentre.co.uk/visiting
Caerphilly MP and trustee at the Miners Centre feels striking the right balance between inclusion and safety is at the heart of the hybrid offer:
“We need to make sure people have opportunities to socially interact, that was behind the decision to open up the Miners as soon as it was safe to do so. But with so many of our community still shielding, the hybrid function means people can meet up virtually and in person. This is so important to those that have been isolated and need to meet up with friends and take part in activities. We will do our best to continue to connect the Caerphilly community.”
OUR GAZEBO IS UP!🎈🎉- 27/07/2020
A fundraising appeal was created through the Local giving website to purchase a gazebo to benefit our community members. Our aim was to produce more outdoor space for the Stay and Play group and for other activity groups that are run from our Centre during the pandemic.
Thanks to Ann, Lisa, Mark, Kate, Ben, Geoff, Hoppy, Jayne, Sue, Karen, John and Katherine. The gazebo fitted perfectly on the artificial grass!! A great covered outdoor space that should help us through the summer. A BIG THANK YOU to our sponsors and for all the encouragement from our community. Now looking forward to Thursday, 30th July 2020 when we open! 🎈🎈🎉🎉
We may be isolated, but we’ve never been more connected
VE Day afternoon tea at Caerphilly Miners – celebrating over Zoom
For May Day, Caerphilly Miners' Centre piloted an afternoon tea over Zoom for some of their community, this was fairly successful but there were several technical problems as most of the group were getting to grips with this new technology.
Over the last week the Caerphilly Miners team have been working with different members of the Elderberries group, to help iron out any technical problems and to enable a largely technically challenged group to join the VE Day afternoon tea.
Katherine Hughes, Caerphilly Miners Secretary said:
“These social events are very important for our members as it bring isolated individuals together and gives them something to look forward to. There have been problems with the technology, as well as understanding the etiquette of an online social event, but it’s all worth it when you see the smiles on the faces of our members.”
Two of the older members of the group talked about their memories of VE day 75 years ago, Dorothy remembers celebrating and dancing on the street and Joan remembers her father who had served during both World Wars.
Others shared their memories and pictures of their parents, some families didn’t celebrate on VE day as fathers were still serving overseas, but singing was a large part of the shared experiences.
The party then moved on to discuss what the group had planned for the rest of the day, activities included, sing songs on the street, afternoon tea parties, joining with neighbours from afar, many had met new neighbours and are looking forward to street parties once restrictions allow, to cement new and old relationships.
Out of the 15 people that attended the tea party, eight of them were around at VE day, so having this opportunity to celebrate and remember together was very important. Both Liz and Sue shared photos of their fathers during the war and others brought flags, artwork, cakes and a host of their items of importance.
“It was so lovely to have an opportunity to mention my father and to share his photo. He was in the Royal Core Signals, whilst Liz’s father was in the Air Force. The technology is new for me but it is very important in making us feel more connected, especially whilst we cannot physically meet up.”
The plan is to arrange more afternoon teas on Fridays, and a request for next weeks’ theme is ‘What we have found during lockdown sorting’. Caerphilly Miners' Centre are also arranging many smaller group meetings including a space for the Gardening Group to meet up and is planning on holding some of their activities and classes online.
From communities all over the region, and the country, the message is coming through that people are willing to embrace technology, no matter how difficult or scary, to make sure they can still see their friends and family.
Are you from the Caerphilly area? Are you interested in a voluntary role helping the community?
Caerphilly Miners Centre for the Community are looking for new Trustees to help govern the charity. Trustee roles are very important to a small charity like ours, and even more so during these turbulent times.
We are looking for people passionate about their community, wanting to give back in a strategic way and ideally able to commit to a three-year term.
We are looking for Trustees, a Chair of the Board, Vice-Chair, and Assistant Secretary. We are looking for people with a range of valuable skills and experience that can enhance our small but dedicated team, including but not limited to; IT & Digital, HR, Marketing, Business and Welsh language speakers.
Our current board comprises of a small but dedicated team, we are looking to expand this team so that the charity ensures its sustainability for the long term as well as to ensure we have people with a range of skills to support the hard working staff and volunteers at the Centre.
During this period of change and uncertainty, many people are looking for ways of giving back, or deeper connections with their community. You may have been one of the many babies born in the Miners Centre when it was a hospital. You may have more time to dedicate to volunteering. You may want to share your expertise with others to help their cause.
Becoming a trustee is rewarding on so many levels, you can help shape the strategic direction of a charity, supporting the management team and helping to steer them through the challenging times ahead of us all. Sitting on a board embeds you in that community, other trustees become new contacts in all different new worlds.
Jeff Cuthbert, Acting Chair
Katherine Hughes, Company Secretary
Amy Alexander, Treasurer
Ann Lewis, Safeguarding and Welsh Language Officer
Glenda Burnett, Trustee
Wayne David MP, Trustee
Rob Bleach, Trustee
Stuart Elliott, Trustee
Lynette Elliott, Trustee
If you are interested or would like to find out more, please contact Katherine Hughes at:
email@example.com | 029 2167 4242
DEADLINE: 22 May 2020.
Aur y Dydd - Gold of the Day 1/4/2020
On Wednesday 1 April we were given Radio Cymru's Gold of the Day award by Aled Hughes. This was for all the work done by so many individuals at the Centre to continue in our quest to support our community at this difficult time. Aled Hughes was amazed at how much we have achieved in such a short time. Ann Lewis was interviews on behalf of Caerphilly Miners Centre and she said how proud she is of everyone involved, especially the volunteers that have continued their commitment during such difficult times.
We wanted to share the radio interview with you to show you how much we appreciate all that you do. Diolch yn fawr i chi gyd!
Caerphilly Miners Centre's climate change garden gets thumbs up from Iolo Williams 21/4/2020
Caerphilly Miners Community Centre have embarked upon an ambitious climate change project, a garden of the future. The project was enabled by The National Lottery Community Fund as a means to encourage communities to adapt to Climate Change.
Their idea was to convert an existing piece of waste ground in front of the Community Centre into an exemplar “Garden of the Future”, involving the local community and with the hope that lessons learned can be shared throughout the area.
Since November 2019, the Centre has held three Climate Change workshops involving different local groups and experts to develop a plan. David Thorpe, a climate change academic and practitioner, gave presentations on challenges and solutions; the Centre’s Youth Forum fed in their thoughts, and Fiona Cloke, a local Landscape Architect, translated their priorities into the end design (as seen below).
The Garden volunteers include those who have knowledge of the previous use of the site (a hospital with a range of out buildings) and people from the area wanting to learn and support a local climate change initiative.
Now that the project is on hold, more through will need to be given to planting in a different season, but key elements will remain; including: a pond, a wildflower meadow, beehives, raised beds and fruit and vegetable patches.
Iolo Williams, well-respected nature observer and television presenter, has commended the project:
“It is really important to connect people to their local environments, and the Caerphilly Garden of the Future does that and more. Educating people through a community project instils skills and confidence we can all go on and replicate at home. Local action plays a key part in mitigating the climate crisis, we each have a responsibility to support our own environment today, for our own well-being and for generations to come. I look forward to seeing how the garden develops.”
The Centre’s Secretary, Katherine Hughes, highlights that the workshops leading up to the project have already had an impact on some of the volunteers:
“Many of the volunteers involved in the project workshops have said that they are already implementing some of the more sustainable practices they have learned, including allowing a more natural approach to growing things with plant choices, saving water and less digging. Our knowledge of climate change has increased already, and we are all excited to getting our hands dirty as soon as it is safe to do so.”
Some initial comments from volunteers show the value the project has brough in just the planning phase:
I’m now considering planning my garden for climate change – Ann
Hope to include small fruit trees and shrubs in my garden and a possible small water feature to encourage wildlife – Louise
I will be looking into mulching my garden and perhaps setting up a compost – Dawn
We are carefully selecting the most appropriate plants - Colin and Sue
Allowing a more natural approach to growing things ie less digging and turning over the ground - let nature do it for you – Ken
I am happier accepting that my garden does not need to be tidy to attract wildlife and insects – Liz
Saving of water in the garden is more on my mind and also that this is a worldwide problem – Louise
I have become more aware that climate is changing not necessarily uniformly over the world and that each locality needs to assess what is changing and adapt accordingly - Liz
Caerphilly volunteers find new ways to support their community 27/3/2020
At Caerphilly Miners Centre, volunteers have always been at the heart of the charity. Without the volunteer stewards, caterers, co-ordinators, and a host of other roles, the Centre would not be able to offer the range of community courses, training and activities that it is able to.
Now that the doors to the old hospital are closed, new virtual doors have opened. The Centre is creating more and more content to put on it’s ‘Things to do at home’ webpage. Volunteers have been sharing their ideas, messages and tips as well as buddying up with members of the local community. Their work continues to make people’s lives better.
Jeff Cuthbert, Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent and trustee at Caerphilly Miners Centre, thanked all the volunteers that have been, and still are engaged with supporting the local community:
“It is more important than ever that we work with our volunteers to support those in the community that need it most. Caerphilly Miners Centre has moved as much of its offering as possible online, and volunteers remain key to all activities. I want to personally thank them for their commitment during these difficult times.”
The Centre’s Secretary, Katherine Hughes, is working closely with the many volunteers to make sure they are supported so that they can continue to support others:
“If we don’t look after our volunteers then we won’t be able to help our community. Our volunteers are more important to us than ever, and we want to make sure they know how much we value them. We have a great team of volunteers and we want them to remain engaged and eager to come back to us.”
Some of the volunteers at the centre have been sharing their thoughts and experiences too:
“The centre is very important to me as I was born in the Miners Hospital 23 years ago, and volunteering there allows me to feel part of my community” – Sinead
“The support & friendship during these last very difficult years from fellow volunteers has been wonderful & much appreciated.” – Marion
“Volunteering has given me the invaluable opportunity to provide and support Welsh language activities within my local community for children, young people and adults. Volunteering has been a fruitful and worthwhile experience which has given me the chance to meet and to socialise with new friends within my community, thus enriching my life.” – Nia
The Centre would like others to think about getting involved with new projects on the horizon. They have plans for a ‘Climate Change Garden of the Future’ project beginning as soon as we beat this pandemic. This will be just what the people of Caerphilly will need after weeks or months of being indoors; an outdoor, creating, planting, growing activity to bring the community together and build a garden of the future, for our future.
Caerphilly Miners Centre supporting the community through closed doors 20/3/2020
In the context of the Coronavirus pandemic, Caerphilly Miners Centre for the Community have closed is doors along with many other organisations across the country, as many of the volunteers, staff and users of the centre fall into ‘vulnerable’ groups.
The Centre, however, is exploring new ways of supporting its community and has just launched its 50+ Dance warm-up exercises as an online experience. The class’ teacher Beth has posted the exercises online in an attempt to keep people moving and engaged during social isolation.
Trustee of the Centre and local MP Wayne David said:
“Caerphilly Miners Centre put the community at the heart of everything we do. We want to stay engaged with our community now more than ever. People, old and young, can become increasingly anxious during such difficult times, and social isolation only adds to anxiety, loneliness and depression. We are continually thinking of new ways to bring people together, and our online exercises is the first of many such initiatives.”
These next few months will see more and more technological solutions appearing to bring people together, communities are also pulling together and identifying new ways of staying connected.
The Centre’s Secretary, Katherine Hughes, urges anyone who needs anything to get in touch:
“Our doors may close for a while, but we have opened many new channels of communication, we want to reach our community in any way we can. Our range of social media channels are all being used to reach out to different groups. Our phone is also redirected so that we can answer calls whenever people need to speak to us.”
The Centre is now preparing to have a range of activities and classes ready to ‘nourish the soul of the community’ once the doors are once again open to the public. There are plans for a new gardening project underway, and Tai Chi, choirs, yoga, crafts, meditation, language clubs, parent and toddler groups will all be awaiting members.
In the meantime, more and more will be done remotely, as Beth explains:
“I have been teaching Dance and Chair Exercises at the Centre for many months. I am pleased we can now offer this over the internet so we can make sure our regulars are keeping fit and healthy, while hopefully encouraging new members to stay active while in isolation. It’s good for hearts and minds.”
The Centre have developed a webpage and will post new activities online: www.caerphillyminerscentre.co.uk/upcoming-events