Ferryside Residential Education Centre

On September 22nd Ferryside Social Enterprise Group reached a very important milestone.

Carmarthenshire County Council handed over the former Education Centre to be used for the benefit of the local community.

That simple sentence hides a massive amount of work by a small group of people over many years. However, in a nutshell, the trustees of FSEG will now be working towards creating somewhere where local people can to do the sorts of things that make life better.

The Health Centre is already based there and will continue to provide a doctor’s surgery and access to a pharmacy and nursing care. Over the next few months we will be exploring ways to bring other health and welfare services into the centre so you can avoid unnecessary travel. You will already have visited the weekly market through the summer and seen the wonderful food and craft provided by a plethora of small local producers. Have you also found out about the sport groups using the refurbished hall? It’s well worth a visit – even if you are not feeling very sporty it makes an excellent venue for parties.

Broadside Films is proof that young people do not need a plan B to move into the competitive world of media production. All you need is talent and a lot of hard work. Their activity on this site is due to increase in the next year but meanwhile, check out their film about the centenary of Bryn WI.

We have recently welcomed the Carmarthen Modellers to the site and their enthusiastic working groups have tidied up some unloved areas and created a welcoming space for people throughout the county who enjoy working in miniature. We expect great things from them.

A Men’s Shed group has become a hive of activity at least twice a week and is growing fast. In addition to working on individual projects the men have made ukeleles and entered in the “Pimp My Uke competition in Cardiff. They have also made beehives and a coracle as part of local community activities.

Art and Crafts will be an important theme on this site and the ceramic workshop to be created by our local artist, Dorothy Morris, will bring people into the village to learn new skills and share their inspiration

With a proposed network of internet connection and reception services on site, discussions are also beginning with people able to create a gallery area, a fine foods kitchen, offices for small businesses and start-up enterprises. It will also provide a focus for the interpretation and display of the local area heritage, both natural and man-made.

All of this will need a lot more work.

The buildings have been empty for nearly ten years, have been vandalised and lots of copper pipe has been stolen. The resident spider population alone will need a massive eviction campaign. Parts of the site will be cleared to use as growing spaces for individuals and community groups. However the wildlife making its home in the areas around the drainage ditch and wooded background will be cherished as they form part of a wider conservation monitoring and education activity in the community.

Meanwhile we are preparing for the return of Welsh language courses to their home here and exploring how we can host a national youth music festival next summer.

Exciting times, eh?!!

If you want to know more about this we have a Facebook page and website which are updated frequently.

How can you get involved?   We need a lot of practical help.

In the next few months we will be cleaning, clearing and bringing the site back to life. If you have practical skills they will be really valuable. We will need to use professionally trained people to restore the plumbing and electrical supplies. Some areas of the site will need plastering, repainting and deep cleaning.

Can you:

  • Use a mop, a vacuum cleaner or a duster?
  • Wield a paint-brush, sander or power tools?
  • Move furniture or unblock doors and windows?
  • Help with fundraising
  • Spare a couple of hours a week to talk to visitors?
  • Do some gardening work

Also, please check through our wish-list of equipment and materials and donate what you can:

  • Electric Heaters
  • PC projector and screen
  • Printer
  • Cleaning materials
  • Buckets
  • Cleaning cloths
  • Scrubbing brushes
  • Heavy duty vacuum cleaner
  • Paint (internal and external)
  • Paintbrushes
  • Brush cleaner
  • Cutlery and crockery
  • Gardening tools
  • Tea, coffee, biscuits
  • etc, etc
  • ie, almost anything useful

All of these will be needed if we are to provide the kind of community centre that the area deserves. We will be speaking to everyone we know asking for help to make this work but please don’t wait to be asked. If you would like to be a part of this exciting project please contact Sue Abbott (01267 267097),
Les Jones (01267 267123) or any FSEG trustee. (See www.fseg.org.uk.)


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