YHY was set up as a Company in 2006 and a Charity in 2008 and is administered by Trustees and a Management Committee, all volunteers. In 2008 a 10 year strategic plan to repair, improve, and extend the building was instituted, and funding totalling £215,000 was obtained from a variety of grant-giving bodies (see yrhenysgoldinas.org.uk/strategic-plan). This restoration has transformed YHY into one of the best community halls in Pembrokeshire. It is now a large airy building in an ideal location, with ample car parking to the front and a lovely peaceful rear garden.
Over the years The Friends of Yr Hen Ysgol, who have strong connections to the school and the area, contribute generously to a capital fund to ensure the building is kept in good order.
Wendy Ratcliffe, Chair of the Management Committee at YHY showed me around this community centre in Dinas. There are three main rooms available for let. The main hall, is a large space with a capacity of 80. It has an oak floor with under-floor heating, projection equipment and connects to a large well-equipped stainless steel kitchen with a new range cooker, a dishwasher and an efficient air extractor system; in all a perfect venue for cookery groups or for Pop up restaurants or cafes. Catering facilities are five star rated. There are two further rooms, Garn Fawr suitable for 40 people is equipped with a large TV monitor, and Garn Fach is ideal for smaller meetings. Both rooms have their own kitchen areas. A large internal hall connects to a new exhibition display area , currently featuring the ‘Dinas ‘Boys’ who gave their life in WW1. All rooms have acoustic panels to reduce echoing. The building is on the level and approached by a ramp. There are male, female and disabled toilets. Central heating throughout is by oil and lights use LEDs. The policy of YHY is to use local labour where ever possible and a local self-employed cleaner keeps the building fresh and clean.
I ask what events and activities happen here.
Wendy explained that with annual day-to-day running costs of approximately £12,500, income comes largely from booking fees, fund-raising by volunteers and a contribution from the Community Council. “We have a number of regular weekly events here. Yoga is very popular and we have three sessions a week, two of Hatha Yoga and one of chair yoga and one session of Pilates. Anne Hughes runs two Singing for Fun sessions, and we have Quilting, Table Tennis , Bridge, Life Drawing and Happy Mondays, a creative group. There is also Active Somatics, a monthly Lunch Club for the over 55’s; a W.I. who meet monthly; and the Historical Society. The major event in aid of YHY funds is the Christmas Fair at the start of December. We are running a Table Top Sale, like indoor car boot sale, on Sat 25th May,
Tables are available see web site.
Wendy tells me that the flexibility of space available in YHY is reflected in the variety of different groups who have used its facilities in recent months; a wedding reception; the British Wheel of Yoga; a Designer Dress Agency; a Pony Club Quiz; Newport Garden Club; and a number of other organisations book the centre on a regular basis. Looking forward to the Easter Weekend YHY will be the venue for an Antiques Fair, and a Table -Top Sale is booked for May 25th. Edward Besly, formerly of the National Museum of Wales, will talk on the discovery of the legendary Tregwynt Hoard of coins on June 6th and the main summer event this year ( 2019) will be a Horticultural and Craft Fair on August 17th.
Wendy shows me the garden, which would make a delightful venue for weddings and other celebrations. “I am a keen gardener”, she tells me, “and I would like to see some raised beds for growing food and herbs out there. We are having some planters being made locally for the front of the building to add colour and will be buying new garden furniture for the garden area”
Do you want new volunteers?
‘Yes please. We want to focus on promoting the centre and try some new events, and to get more local people involved.”
We are holding a social evening for ‘Friends’ on Friday May 10th to thank all our loyal ‘Friends’ for their continuing contributions but it’s also a chance for any new members interested in joining to come along.”
“We are drawing from a select few dedicated volunteers, who are wonderful,” she adds, “but more volunteers, and more ideas would be very welcome. We want to see Yr Hen Ysgol humming with life and ideas.”
I couldn’t agree more. It’s a lovely light filled building with beautiful views and a delightful peaceful garden. There is plenty of off road parking and while not having installed a hearing loop system for the deaf, the building is otherwise very accessible.
Booking fees are very competitive – see the web site.
Would you like to know more? Book a room? Offer your time as a volunteer? Have brilliant ideas for events or activities you would like to see in the future? Contact:
General Enquiries: info/yrhenysgoldinas.org.uk