We want to stay in touch with our community in different ways. Below are some news items that we have shared with local and national media.
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:
| 029 2167 4242
DEADLINE: 22 May 2020.
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
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 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