Myrtle House is a community hub in the heart of Llanelli. The Church moved into the building 25 years ago, they then opened Myrtle House day Care Nursery. This was soon followed by Gallery | Art & Coffee, a coffee shop in Llanelli town centre that showcases the work of local artists. These two projects fund the community work that Myrtle House run. Which includes a community café, a Trussell Trust Foodbank and family groups. The community hub is also just about to start an advice service, so those visiting the community café can be signposted onto the most appropriate support service.
“People are thankful that they have a safe place to come, they know that if they come to us that we’ll help them”Kate McShane, Project Manager
The community café has recently reopened after COVID restrictions. It now has 50-60 people visiting every week, and that number is growing week on week. The community café provide meals for anyone who needs one, for a suggested donation or for free. On Friday mornings the community café runs their Friendship Centre, with up to 40 people visiting. The Friendship Centre provides a space for people who might be socialy isolated to come and make friends over a warm meal.
“I have seen people accessing our community café and accessing the meals they were lonely they had issues with social isolation, and people come to the community cafe because it provides them with an opportunity to make new friends”Kate McShane, Project Manager
As part of the Friendship Centre, craft sessions are run by Myrtle Houses’ artist in residence. In the sessions visitors create items that are of value to them. There are also dance and movement classes, run during the Friendship Centre, to encourage older service users to move and improve their balance and core stability. The Friendship Centre has become a vital space for local people to visit.
“It gives me a break from my husband, I need a break, cos he’s got health problems and I think he’s got a bit of dementia, I am finding it hard, and I feel if I have a break I can cope with it better”Beverly, Service User
A lot of the food used in the meals at the Community Café and during the Friendship Centre, comes from FareShare Cymru and FareShare Go. The wide variety of food has meant those visiting Myrtle House are able to have a warm healthy meal, some of whom might not have eaten that day. As the food from FareShare Cymru varies week to week, the café no longer runs on a set menu, and now offers visitors a variety, with different meals each day.
“before it was set, and now it’s like oh what’s come in today, what’s for dinner today”Susan, Volunteer
As Myrtle House have to raise all the money they need for their community projects, signing up as a FareShare Cymru member has saved them money which they have reinvested elsewhere. The food has also enabled Myrtle House to provide people with access to fresh food, whilst also feeding more people overall.
“It’s benefitted us financial because we have to raise the money to do all of our community work, and to feed people costs so the FareShare food has really helped”Kate McShane, Project Manager
Through their community café and Friendship centre, Myrtle House are providing a friendly face and comfortable space over a hot meal, for those in need in their community.
“I think Myrtle House runs on good food, good conversation and good company”Carol Roberts, Foodbank Coordinator