Raft of local help gets boathouse ship-shape

4 May 2016

A new boathouse at Port Talbot dockside will soon be open, thanks to a raft of local businesses, who have stepped in to help out.

L-R: W Doyle manager Kevin Bartlett, Andy Brown CEO of the YMCA and Lorry Driver Kendrick Cliffe

L-R: W Doyle manager Kevin Bartlett, Andy Brown CEO of the YMCA and Lorry Driver Kendrick Cliffe

The Boathouse project is the latest initiative of Port Talbot YMCA, and will offer a secure storage space for canoes and kayaks for use by local youngsters.

Port Talbot YMCA was given a previously disused building last year, and has been working with a team of “amazing” volunteers to help get the place ship-shape and usable for children in time for the summer.

The work has included landscape gardening, painting, installing electrics, building partition walls inside the building and installing a working kitchen.

“The range of skills brought by volunteers has been astounding and the YMCA is very grateful to have so many amazing and talented volunteers and staff who have all lent a hand,” said a spokeswoman.

It was during the renovations that local freight and transport company W Doyle heard that the YMCA needed help moving storage containers and were only too happy to lend a hand.

W Doyle is based in Port Talbot’s Llewellyn Quay, and although they were bought out by a national concern in October 2015, say they are still run as a small family business and enjoy having a tight-knit connection with the local community.

“It was our pleasure to give a couple of unpaid hours to an organisation like Port Talbot YMCA, knowing the pleasure it will give to local youths, and I would encourage other local businesses to offer their services,” said the company’s manager, Kevin Bartlett.

More recently Andrea Griffiths of Andrea’s Custom-Made Curtains and Blinds offered help when she heard that the YMCA were looking for good quality curtains to hang in the newly built changing rooms.

Andrea was able to advise the YMCA about standards for fabrics in public spaces, sourced suitable fabric and donated it to The Boathouse. Andrea then gave her time to custom fit the curtains.

Andrea said: “If local businesses don’t help communities, how can they expect those communities to support our business?”

Local DIY merchant Page’s also got in on the act by providing the YMCA with curtain hooks to hang the new curtains.

The YMCA has been pleased to receive so much help for the new facility.

“I think people underestimate the generosity and the talent that is available in Port Talbot, but during this project the help and community spirit that has been offered has been a clear reminder of what an amazing town Port Talbot can be,” said a spokesman for the YMCA board.

The Boathouse opens officially at the end of May, but new children are welcome at the Adventure Club which already runs every Wednesday.

“The YMCA’s Adventure Club has been using the dockside during the summer months for several years now but the new boathouse will improve the facilities and make it even more appealing for children from all over the area, who are welcome to come along,” said a spokeswoman.

Adventure Club is held on a Wednesday evening at 5pm, and costs £2.50 per person including hire of kayaks or canoes as required (and a lift to the dockside from the YMCA building in town) making the sessions affordable and accessible for children in the area “at pocket money prices”.

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