Penparcau Community Forum are a community based, community development organisation for the facilitation, planning and organisation of events and activities within and across the community of Penparcau. Their main aims are:
- To enable Penparcau residents and organisations to take full advantage of funding and resources available to the area
- To bring individuals, groups and organisations together to determine the long-term needs of Penparcau.
- To be an enabling body to directly fund specific projects in the area.
Address: Penparcau Community Forum, Penparcau, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 1RU
Telephone: (+44) 01970 611099
Bryn from Penparcau Community Forum:
“This is what this place is all about. Seeing people like Sam, a young women gaining confidence and gaining skills. We are hoping to break down a lot of barriers with this new centre, creating a lot of opportunities and Sam is a great example of that.”
Penparcau Community Forum
Creating a new future for the people of Penparcau - Sam’s story
Penparcau is made up of 3,200 people, including 800 young people, of which 40% live in poverty. The large housing estates on the outskirts of Aberystwyth have not enjoyed a good reputation over the years but the Penparcau Community Forum has made some serious inroads into changing that perception. Last year, thanks to funding from Welsh Government and the People’s Health Trust and with support from Social Business Wales, Penparcau Community Forum opened a new, modern and accessible Community Centre for its residents. Formerly an old boxing club, the new community hub houses a cafe, training kitchen, youth zone, training room and changing facilities. All of which are aimed at upskilling the young people of Penparcau and creating a Community Centre that all its residents will be proud of.
One person the Forum has already helped to turn their life around is Sam, and this is her story:
How did you come to be involved with Penparcau, Sam?
My daughter got picked to be in the community carnival. She was picked to be a rose bud on the float, which I was very proud of. I then got involved in the community meetings to design the float and it led to me meeting Julie and Bryn. They then asked me if I would like to be a volunteer at the new community centre.
Had you volunteered before?
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. It has given me and my daughters a huge amount of confidence. I have a 4 year old, 9 year old and 12 year old and my 4 year old in particular adores coming here. I have seen her come so far in her personality and she is doing amazing in school now because she is getting out and about and meeting new people and experiencing a life that we weren’t experiencing previously.
Bryn and Julie said they were opening up a new café within the centre and asked if I would like to get involved in that way. Julie has known me for a long time and knew that before I had my son, I was at catering college, but because I was travelling so far away, I had to give that up when I was pregnant. So when I was given this opportunity to work in the café, I jumped at the chance.
What’s your role within the café?
Well I come in on a Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and I 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 record all the fridges and the freezers and make sure the stock is up to date. Everything you would do in a proper café. Not that I’m saying it isn’t a proper café, because it is! It’s amazing.
It has given me the opportunity to meet a lot of new people. There are a variety of people from all walks of life and ages coming into the café. We had a year four class from a local primary school come in last week and it was wonderful to just stand there and serve them. They all had their own 50p and bought their glass of squash and bar of chocolate.
I’m not doing this for the money because the place doesn’t make enough money to employ at the moment. But we have some regulars who come in and it is good having a laugh and a joke with them and the staff are amazing.
What are your hopes and aspirations for the future?
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. Be in the heart of the community and meet wonderful people and I really do appreciate everyone here at the forum for the opportunity to let me volunteer. It’s a proud feeling. It has been a dream job.
What impact has Penparcau Community Forum and this new Centre had on the area?
If I’m being honest, Penparcau, the town, didn’t have a good name for itself a few years ago. The Centre has brought everyone in the community together. You see people coming up here that you never knew lived in this community. It was just what we needed in Penparcau and it was Bryn and the team who have made it happen. My children are making new friends, it is good for them. We have OAPs 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 stepping together and working so hard. Everyone works hard; all the trustees pitch in and do their best.
I think this facility has built 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 others, we wouldn’t be where we are now.”