A DAY club set up by the community for older people living in Ystradowen is growing bigger and better by the day.
Residents living in the area rallied round to run the day club when it was offered to them by Carmarthenshire County Council.
With the help of various departments within the council, the residents formed a small committee and enlisted volunteers, and now the club is standing firmly on its own two feet.
Chair, Rhys Maddock, said: “We have had an excellent response from the local community and as a committee we are keen to establish the centre and ensure that the community has an easy accessible venue for years to come. We have also been very busy fundraising and to date the committee has applied for almost £300,000 of grants.”
Since launching in May, the club has already developed to involve many more activities than the council was previously able to provide.
In independent hands, it also means that eligibility criteria no longer needs to be applied, meaning many more people are able to join.
Currently, the club provides services for 30 older people every week, supported by 18 volunteers.
Members are able to enjoy a hot meal in the company of friends, participate in a variety of activities and games, read, sing and enjoy craftwork, and even exercise to music.
The club has also been extended to welcome residents from surrounding areas, including areas in the upper Swansea Valleys.
The use of the building where it is held has also been extended to the community, with room hire and events such as clothes sales and digital storytelling.
Cllr Pat Jones, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board Member for Health and Social Care, said: “Ystradowen is a perfect example of exactly how we saw that these clubs could be developed in the hands of voluntary and independent providers.
“Just as they have shown, these clubs can thrive when they are not restricted by the rules that the county council had to have in place – such as eligibility criteria, which restricted who was able to attend.