Sam's story

05 April 2018

In this piece, Sam from the Local Conversation in Penparcau, explains how she became involved in the project and the impact it has had on her, and the rest of the community.

“This was my first ever time volunteering. I had my first born when I was 18-years-old and he passed away within five and a half months, which has led to me having high anxiety and depression.
 

Even though I have three daughters now, I have been living with anxiety and depression on and off for the last 14 years, so I haven’t been able to get out and about much at all. But the community forum has helped me a lot. All of the staff are friendly and lovely and it has given me and my daughters a huge amount of confidence.

When Bryn and Julie said they were opening up a new café within the centre, they asked if I would like to get involved.

My father is a head chef at the local hospital, so catering runs through my family. And from a young age, I’ve always wanted to be in this sort of position; to work in a café and hopefully run a café by the end of it. It’s just something that I’ve always wanted to do - being at the heart of the community and meeting wonderful people - I really do appreciate everyone here at the forum for the opportunity to let me volunteer. It’s a proud feeling.

Now, I come in three times a week to open up the café. I serve teas, coffees and I help Rhian, one of the trustees, with the ordering of the products that we need. I monitor all the fridges and the freezers and make sure the stock is up to date.

Picture credit: Social Business Wales

I think the community centre has helped to build Penparcau back up. If anything, the hub is what the community needed to bring people together; without the help and financial support we have received from People’s Health Trust, and from others, we wouldn’t be where we are now.

If I’m being honest, Penparcau didn’t have a good name for itself a few years ago but the centre has brought everyone together. You see people coming here that you never knew lived in this community - it was just what we needed in Penparcau.

My children are making new friends, it is good for them. We have older people coming in and they’re meeting new people. We have the vicar coming over from the local church and a local policeman who works with our Youth Forum that comes in after work to volunteer his time. It is brilliant for the community and especially for the young people.

I never knew my neighbours before, but now I know everybody who lives on my street and in the community. I go to the shop and I go and pick up the children from school and everyone knows who I am. And it is truly amazing that the community is working together."

 

Through the Local Conversation in Penparcau, residents identified a number of priorities, including the need for more modern, fit for purpose, community facilities.

As well as the community centre, other priorities for the project include youth activities, a community minibus and community website, maintaining green spaces and creating a wildlife garden next to the community centre.

The community centre was part-funded by People’s Health Trust, the Welsh Government, Ceredigion County Council and Aberystwyth Town Council.

To date, People’s Health Trust has invested more than £335,000 in the overall Local Conversation project in Penparcau, using money raised by HealthExpect through The Health Lottery.

 

To read more news from the Trust, click here

This article is based on a story originally written by Sam for the Social Business Wales. To read the article and see more pictures, click here

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