YMCA hits lottery fund cash jackpot

South Wales Guardian: Llandovery youngsters celebrate the news that the town’s YMCA has received a lottery grant. Llandovery youngsters celebrate the news that the town’s YMCA has received a lottery grant.

A life-changing Towy Valley community organisation has announced ambitious plans after scooping a £249,839 grant.

Llandovery YMCA, based at Market Square, has vowed to use the People and Places Lottery funding to benefit the entire town over the next three years.

Manager Jill Tatman said the cash would fund a ground-breaking therapeutic and emotional support project, pay for a new minibus and also go towards developing new opportunities for the unemployed through education and training.

Jill, 63, has been with the organisation since it arrived in the town in 1990 and believes the cash boost will ensure an exciting future for both Llandovery YMCA and the town.

"I am really looking foward to all the new and exciting opportunities we have coming up thanks to this amazing grant," said Jill.

"The YMCA provides help to the community as a whole - It's not just about the young people, we welcome everyone from all walks of life.

“We once had a retired gentleman knock the door asking for help with computers, and three years on, that man, Tom Ashton, is now the centre’s data capture officer.”

“The YMCA is life-changing.”

The YMCA building - dubbed the 'Tardis' because of its blue exterior and incredible array of rooms and projects behind its small facade - already provides an after-school club, a youth club, art, music and fitness sessions to name just a few, and also a drop-in information centre for local charities and job seekers.

The building's room's are also available for hire with an array of facilities to meet the differing needs of clubs, societies and business meetings.

Thanks to the new funding, the YMCA will also now be able to offer a unique therapeutic and emotional support scheme for young people through art.

"I believe we could be the first YMCA in Wales to introduce such a scheme," said Jill.

In addition, the YMCA will add another string to its bow on April 10 when it becomes home to the Citizens Advice Bureau and offers help and advice on a range of issues.

Jill was quick to praise the efforts of her team in making the grant a reality.

"I have a dedicated group of staff and volunteers including youth club organiser Moira Davies, project development officer Lee Mattocks, Gateway Club tutor Steve Lawrence and IT tutor Andrew Barker," she said.

"All these people demonstrated to the Lottery just how well we use any funding previously awarded to us, including the Rural Development Fund administered by Carmarthenshire County Council, the Co-operative Community Fund, Postcode Lottery Fund and a number of small grants from other charities."

Despite over 20 years in the job, Jill has no plans to leave just yet.

"It's a wonderful and fulfilling place to work," she said. "I wouldn't want to work anywhere else."

To find out more about Llandovery YMCA, call 01550 721449 or Jill can be contacted on 01550 721346 or visit them on Facebook.

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