A derelict community centre on one of the biggest housing estates in Milford Haven has been brought back to life, thanks to an initiative by the local church.
The Orchard Family Centre on the Mount Estate closed more than six years ago. But a conversation with a resident eighteen months ago spurred the Vicar of Milford Haven, Fr Harri Williams, into action.
A new group, The Friends of the Mount, has been formed and the new facility – renamed the Mount Community Centre – will be officially opened to the public on Saturday (January 20th) by the chairman of Pembrokeshire County Council, Cllr Paul Harries.
Working with non-profit youth organisation Young Life International, Father Harri was able to purchase the lease from the council, and picked up the keys just before Christmas.
A week of activities, including a coffee club, children’s activities, family bingo and a men’s group, will follow. Local people are also being asked to come up with their own ideas for using the centre
“The hope is that we can give something back to the community, to an estate that’s basically lost its whole heart,” Father Harri said.
“Our intention is to build up use of the centre gradually by different groups.”
Milford Haven Neighbourhood Policing Team is hoping to run a regular drop-in centre, and Young Life International and Plant Dewi will provide sessions for young people and parents.
Father Harri said it was also vital the church stepped up to help local people.
“From my perspective as vicar, for a long time the church has not done enough for people on this estate, and that is shameful,” he said.
“This is an attempt to redress that.”