Sunday, 27 May 2012

The Olympic Torch comes to Ponty

The crowds lined the streets and the sun shone and the runner ran the length of Gelliwastad Road.....

Meanwhile St David's Uniting Church was open for business with its usual Saturday coffee morning.  We must  have welcomed around 75 visitors and the takings were up from the usual £30 - £35 to  a grand £102.

Coffee morning takings are earmarked for church development  projects.

Volunteers staff the coffee morning on a rota basis, and yet more volunteers bake  delicious home made cakes.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Christian Aid Week - Collectors Tales

A typical doorstep conversation goes something like this:
" Good evening, I've come to collect your Christian Aid envelope"
"I think I must have lost it " (looks around for it rather vaguely)
"I do have spares, if you'd like to make a donation"
"No, I'm OK thanks"

And that's just it, isn't it. We are OK.  Pity the same isn't true for everyone.

One lady handed me an envelope full- to -bursting  with coppers. She had been saving them up all year so that she could give them to me today!  This is what keeps me coming back to do this year after year.

Christian Aid Week

Kids Club at Church House has been supporting Christian Aid's work in Guatemala (through the Presbyterian Church Of Wales Quinquennial Appeal).

Our Christian Aid United service featured a video clip of Chistian Aid at work  in Sierra Leone through its local partner, the Methodist Church.   By setting up local Village Development Committees, people are taking more control in making decisions that affect their own lives. The project in Gbap is reclaiming land which was destroyed in the 14 year civil war, and creating a centre for agricultural production, education and innovation.

Area Secretary Marie McNeil  brought with her Moses, a Christian Aid worker from Ethiopia.  Here a priority is to enable farmers to make the most of what little rainfall exists.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Time banking in Glyncoch

Members of the Justice and Peace group arranged a visit to nearby Glyn Coch to find out how Time banking works. We had come across  Time banking in our discussions about  how to 'close the poverty gap' (and from our MP who supports them  generally!).

Cheryl, the Time banking Co-ordinator, works from the small Communities First office in the middle of the estate. She told us the story of how it all started (read the Case Study )  What began as an 'add on' is now integral to the community. More than 20 000 hours are contributed by  volunteering in some way, including running 20-30 community groups. For each hour given,  one time credit is gained. They can be exchanged for items from a menu of 'rewards' including trips,  sessions at leisure facilities and adult classes. A record of credits gained and 'spent'  is kept by the Time banking co-ordinator. Communities First  funds are available for organising activities and for 'rewards'.

The whole  scheme is seen as a tool for  regeneration. For example, community groups now include the  Job Club, to help people in applying for jobs, and 'Depression Busters' self help group.   We heard about individuals who got a taste for a particular line of work through volunteering and decided to set up their own business - such as in catering.   Adults get involved with their children during holiday activities, and families have fun together. All of this is good for the community as well as for the individuals concerned. It breeds a positive 'can do' approach to life.

Where this leaves us at St David's Uniting, we do not know. But we are heartened at what we have seen and heard and we will keep in touch with Cheryl.