Milford Haven Update – Autumn 2018

by Rachel Evans

Crikey, what a busy month! It didn’t seem to be about meeting loads of new people, more about building on existing relationships.

Carers

Ever keen to press on with initiatives which keep the library relevant to the local community in 2018, Tracey, site manager of Milford Library, asked if I could help with their efforts to gain their Bronze Level in Investors In Carers, a quality mark conceived and developed in west Wales over 10 years ago. The Investors In Carers scheme encourages surgeries and local amenities to be alive to the presence and needs of unpaid carers and consequently makes a vast difference to the lives of those looking after loved-ones, friends and neighbours.

Tracey had already made great progress mounting a display of books relevant to the caring role and I brought down to Milford all the helpful leaflets she would need to make available, kept centrally in Haverfordwest by our wonderful Carers’ Information Service run by Hafal-Crossroads.

However, Tracey wanted to go further, so together we have planned a Carers’ Support Group which she knows she can leave with Rural Wisdom to develop. This will take place every Monday morning at the Library, offering a safe, warm, friendly space where carers can come together, with or without their loved-ones, and support each other, have a laugh or a game of cards, over the inevitable cuppa and biccies. Expert advice will be on hand regularly, courtesy of my lovely colleague, Ingrid, from Crossroads. We start on the 15th and the signs are that people will come…..although there are some great carers groups in the county, we are told that a group in Milford is needed. Watch this space and wish us luck!

Soup & Sarnies

The first Soup & Sarnies session on a local housing estate went okay – not a big turn-out, however. As usual, you question whether you have hit on the right formula but we have another 3 planned before Christmas and are determined to give it a good go, in case local folk just want to be sure of what has been planned and hear from those who came along to the first lunch before they commit the time to come themselves. Absolutely fair enough. Lynne, Jane and I are on the case.

PALs

PALs left their usual haunt at the Pill Social Centre for another enjoyable and sociable lunch at the Lord Nelson pub, so-called because of this illustrious visitor to the town. We had a great time and were 18 on this occasion. This was completely financed from the subs the group members pay every week into their kitty – having a small, manageable weekly subs is a great thing to do, as it soon builds up…..but the secret is to stay safe and not let things build up too much. The group can decide to treat themselves to lunch on a regular basis, or give a donation to another local organisation – for us, it has also helped buy the odd thing for the group and most importantly, helps to keep it sustainable.

Speed Networking Event

Lastly, Dayle from Youth Matters and I cooked up a speed networking event for organisations in Milford and this happened last Friday (into October, I know!). The driving factor was the local Rotary Club – the wonderful Rotary gang raise significant amounts of money every year for good local causes but they are sometimes unsure about who might need it. Dayle and I wanted as many organisations as possible to have access to Rotary members so that they could pitch for small sums of money, as well as get together with other organisations to renew acquaintance and work out how to help each other.

I think we ended up with 14 or 15 organisations represented there – a mixture of those who could provide funds or help in fundraising (Chris, Paul and the other gents from Rotary, Natalie from Milford Haven Port Authority and Debbie and Stacey from Tesco) and those whose organisations need a bit of help. The noise level at the Youth Centre was extraordinary. People had 5 minutes to talk – Dayle timed the sessions and I rang an extremely loud bell I borrowed from my mum. Everyone said that it had been really useful and that we should do it again…..result.

I think that’s all for now – Natasha, Shereen and I are working on our exchange visit to Mold by our Scottish friends next month….and are also starting to look to the Rural Wisdom areas for the next two years.