The Sandville Self Help Centre at Tôn Kenfig recently had an unexpected visitor, the Plaid Cymru AM Bethan Jenkins.
The AM had heard about the Sandville Foundation from a patient who had previously attended the centre, and was so impressed she wanted to see for herself.
Bethan was met at the door by Gary Banks, the Sandville house manager, who showed her around. The first stop on the tour was the log cabin where Bethan was introduced to Aisha and Rebekah, two students who were staying at the centre as part of their qualification for the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award.
Next, it was on to meet Sister Gwyneth Poacher, the founder of the centre, who was conducting a relaxation therapy with a patient in her special room overlooking Pyle and Kenfig Golf Course, Porthcawl, the Bristol Channel and the Somerset and Devon coast line beyond – a therapy in itself.
After meeting volunteers in the reception and kitchen, the AM was shown the sensory and memorial gardens, and also St Michael’s Church where a Service is held every Sunday, and on the first Wednesday in the month when the Rev Canon Philip Masson of Porthcawl conducts a special Service for patients and volunteers alike.
The Sandville has expanded remarkably since it was opened, and visits to the conservatory, therapeutic rooms and swimming pool, followed.
She met Gareth, the centre care manager and Sandra, the pool therapist and visited the education centre where a woman’s beauty course was in progress.
Finally, after tea and biscuits, the AM commented on what a worthwhile and eye opening visit it had been, and that she hoped to come again on another occasion.
Report and photographs by Keith E Morgan