Page 1

Summer 2011 Issue 38


News and views for residents of

Bro Myrddin Housing Association

Dealing with debt Page 4

You’re never too old to learn Page 5

Eating healthily Page 7


In this issue l

4 l



Join the Swansea Bay 10k running team


Watch the fast food you eat Eating healthily on a budget




Never too old to learn New housing website


6 7

Dealing with debt and surviving to tell the tale


Delicious summer pudding recipe Wordsearch

How to get in touch Phone: 01267 232714 Text:

07797 801628


Cover image: © WavebreakMediaMicro –

Write to: Bro Myrddin Housing Association, Cillefwr Industrial Estate, Johnstown, Carmarthen SA31 3RB

Sgwrs can be provided in large print, Braille, audio or your preferred language on request. Please call us on 01267 232714. Sgwrs is published by: Bro Myrddin Housing Association Ltd Designed and produced by: Andrew Buchanan Communications


Sgwrs Summer 2011

Welcome to your warm and




sunny summer Sgwrs! FOR YOUR

summer issue of Sgwrs, the team and I have been busy gathering as much information as possible to ensure that you get the most from your newsletter. For instance, we’ve got a first hand account of dealing with debt from a resident who came through it, a feature on adult learning and advice on how to eat more healthily, even if it is fast food! The team and I hope you will find plenty to interest you in this issue of Sgwrs but, as always, if you have any suggestions or would like to see a specific item covered in the newsletter, please feel free to contact me or a member of the editorial team with your ideas. I would like to take this opportunity

to welcome Mrs Netia Preece and Miss Lindsey Howell to the editorial team. They both expressed an interest in the newsletter and have provided the team with plenty of feedback and ideas to include in this issue. If you too would like to be part of Sgwrs, then don’t hesitate to ask a member of Bro Myrddin staff or simply contact me on 01267 239418. You can also contact me by email on Aled Rees Editor PS Don’t forget to enter the word search competition for a chance to win £25.

Emergency numbers If you have an emergency in your home when we are closed, there are two numbers to ring: n For GAS emergencies, call Transco on 0800 111999.

Got a maintenan c problem? C e a us FREE o ll n

0800 316 9602

n For all other out-of-hours emergencies (including gas and oil fired heating system emergencies) call Carmarthenshire County Council’s 24-hour emergency Careline 01558 824283.

Office closures The office will be closed on: Monday 29th August for the bank holiday. We will re-open on Tuesday 30th August at 8:45am. Thursday 29th September for staff training. We will re-open on Friday 30th September at 8:45am. Bro Myrddin Housing Association Ltd is a charitable association registered under the Industrial & Provident Societies Act 1965 (23055R) and with Housing for Wales (L069). Competitions: Prize draws and competitions are only open to Bro Myrddin residents. Board members and staff may not enter competitions, unless otherwise stated. Accuracy: We try to make sure that information in Sgwrs is correct, but readers should seek independent advice before relying on any content. We cannot accept responsibility for errors in articles. We reserve the right to edit material sent in. Sgwrs may not be reproduced without prior permission.




AGM Bro Myrddin’s annual general meeting has been a great success, with many residents attending to support their association. Chair of Bro Myrddin, Gethin Davies,

opened the meeting and welcomed the evening’s guest speaker, Welsh Government Assembly Member Keith Davies. Mr Davies (pictured) summarised some of the challenges facing housing After the meeting, staff and Board members were available to answer questions and everyone enjoyed the opportunity for a chat over a cup of tea and light refreshments.


➲ Our standards At Bro Myrddin we are committed to providing an excellent service to residents, so we believe it’s important you should know what you can expect from us. To make this easier, we work to a set of standards covering each of the different services we provide – from customer care to anti-social behaviour. If you would like a copy of our service standards, please call us on 01267 232714 or simply download the standards from our website

➲ Thank you We would like to thank all the residents and their families who were involved in the annual report photo shoot. We hope you found it fun having your photographs taken by a professional photographer in your own home. Thank you all!

associations and their residents at a time we have come to know as the ‘credit crunch’. He shared some of the Welsh Government’s ideas to help organisations like Bro Myrddin continue building homes to the highest standards. Alison Vickers of auditors Bevan & Buckland confirmed that the annual accounts gave a fair and accurate view of the Association’s financial affairs for 2010-11 and was delighted when shareholders approved the reappointment of her firm as Bro Myrddin’s auditors for a further year. Gethin Davies presented Bro Myrddin’s annual report, which this year focuses on the Association’s commitment to ‘Making a Difference’ as well as its performance during the year. A copy of the report has been sent to all residents and is also available at Sgwrs Summer 2011







Giving up my job in order to help with illness in the family raised many challenges. Not only did I have to abandon a position I loved – I also had to sacrifice my sense of independence. As the weeks passed, increasing money worries turned into frequent arguments over the smallest of purchases. Agencies began to telephone on behalf of companies and banks who were owed money. The pressure was really on to find a solution to our escalating debt. But each time I renegotiated the debt, more telephone calls would follow. Eventually, I came to realise that I was not going to get through this without outside help. I admitted defeat and approached the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB). I had considered using one of the debt help companies, but the CAB

advised that some of these companies did not operate as legal government agencies. Others offered to reduce payments and write-off the debt after two to three years, but not all these companies delivered their promises,

pressure was really {onThe to find a solution to our escalating debt |

leaving people without funds and still owing money. It was a huge gamble and one I was unwilling to take. The other option was bankruptcy – a scary prospect. I was brought up to believe that bankruptcy was frowned on and that you would be judged as a

Moneyline Cymru Moneyline Cymru is an award winning, not-for-profit community financial service company, providing loans from £50 to £500 to tenants who are working or on benefits. If you are looking for a small loan, then call us on 0845 643 1553. We will be pleased to talk you through the process and will tell you if you are able to have a loan. You will need to send us via FREEPOST two forms of identification, proof of income and your most recent bank statements, along with some documents we will post to you for signing. We will talk you through this step by step. Example of typical loan costs Amount borrowed: £300 • Repayment term: 50 weeks • Weekly payment: £6.79 • Interest payment: £39.50 • Administration fee: £18 • Total to repay: £357.50


Sgwrs Summer 2011

© Yuri Arcurs |

by Jan*, a Bro Myrddin resident who lived to tell this tale...

result. However, a solicitor put my anxieties at rest. I was told that bankruptcy was commonplace and now more accepted. Once the request had been submitted to the court for the bankruptcy to proceed, most of the organisations who had been quite aggressive became more tolerant. And once the court declared the bankruptcy, everything began to settle down. The phone rang less often and we began to be greeted with polite voices instead of demanding, aggressive tones. The Council Tax repayment was a large amount to fork-out, but the arrears were cleared reasonably fast. Our rent was agreed amicably with the support of our housing officer at Bro Myrddin. We agreed a weekly amount and a few months later we’d cleared the last of the arrears and have remained debt free. I was lucky. I received the support and advice I needed once I realised the situation was completely beyond my control. My advice to anyone struggling with debt is to seek advice from a legitimate agency, such as the CAB. Don’t be tempted by fast, easy cash or schemes that seem too good to be true – they probably are and you could end up with more debt than before. (* ‘Jan’ has chosen not to use her real name.)


➲ Vital feedback When you report a repair and we issue you with an order for the works to be carried out, we also send you a Tenants Satisfaction Survey to complete and return. These surveys let us know if you were happy or unhappy with the services you have received. Please take time and complete these surveys, and return them to us once the works have been carried out. Your feedback is vital for us to help improve the services we provide to you.

➲ Want to move?

l It could be time to dust off your school satchel and exercise the little grey cells, because

you’re never

too old to


The Carmarthenshire Housing Options website provides a wealth of information about:

• Council and housing association properties to rent • How long you might have to wait for a home • Affordable homes for sale • Renting from a private landlord • Where the properties are and how to find a good landlord.

➲ We passed! Bro Myrddin has received confirmation from the Welsh Government’s Housing Regulation Team that it has passed its annual financial viability assessment. This confirms that we have adequate resources to meet our business and financial commitments.

© Yuri Arcurs |

By achieving a BA Honours degree in photography at Carmarthenshire College, Bro Myrddin resident Mr Patrick Casey of St Clears has proved that learning has no age limits. Mr Casey explained that, even though he left school around 50 years ago and has had numerous medical problems over the years, it doesn’t matter how old you are or what your background is – it’s never too late to try and achieve your goals and expand your education. Adult learning is a very popular area of the college’s provision for learners. People of all ages and backgrounds

study part-time and full-time courses for a number of reasons. Some are retraining, others are studying a craft or hobby for their own enjoyment and development, while others are following professional and degree-level courses to further their careers. For course information and details about current course fees, you can email or call 01554 748170. We’d like to thank Mr Casey for getting in touch and suggesting that readers might like to know about adult learning at Carmarthenshire College. We would also like to congratulate him on his degree.

Housing Benefits are Changing!

Registered Charity 515902


If you get help to pay your rent you need to find out how the changes will affect you Get advice now Call 0845 075 5005 or visit Or 08444 77 20 20 or visit Sgwrs Summer 2011



Do something that will make a massive difference to the lives of others – and have a great fun day out at the same time!

The Hafan Cymru 2011 Swansea Bay


team needs...


Sunday September



Hafan Cymru is a Wales-wide charitable organisation that gives support to women, men and children who have experienced domestic abuse and violence and helps them put their lives back together again. During 2009-2010 we supported 2,245 individuals – the number increases every year. The money we raise helps us to deliver the quality support that gives survivors of domestic abuse a chance to regain their independence and live a life free from fear. Last year we entered a 25-strong Are you affected team into the September Swansea by domestic 10k run and we were lucky enough abuse? Contact Hafan to have Katherine Jenkins as part Cymru on 01267 of our running team. We raised an 225555 or visit amazing £11,000 with her support and that of all our runners, For immediate help, generous donors and invaluable call the 24 hour helpers. This year we want at least Domestic Abuse 50 runners running for us and Helpline free on 0808 we’d love you to be a part of this 80 10 800. amazing team effort. By running

From Forum Chair Ray Daniels:


In my new role as Chair of the Residents’ Forum I would like to pay tribute to Mike Edwards for his services to the Forum. I am a firm believer that our influence must focus on the future. I feel confident that the Residents’ Forum will assist Bro Myrddin not only to maintain, but also to extend, the high quality standards already in place. The work of the Forum has always been exemplary, and I am confident that with the continued support of TPAS Cymru and Bro Myrddin staff we can look forward to a busy and fruitful year ahead.


Sgwrs Summer 2011

for Hafan Cymru you will be helping us highlight the importance of the work we do in the local community and raise the all important funds we need to deliver this vital service. Come and be a part of it! All you need do is email or call 01267 225555 to register your interest and request the entry forms. Places will be allocated on a first come basis, so if you want to get involved get in touch as soon as possible. Entry for the 10k race, which starts at Oystermouth Road, is £16.50 and we are asking all our runners to raise as much as they can. If every runner raises £200 we will be well on our way to our target. You will get a Hafan Cymru running vest, Hafan Cymru running team photograph, Swansea 10k T-shirt and medal and goody bag as part of the entry fee. There are also junior races (1k, 3k, 5k), for which the entry fee is £7.

A tailored service We want to provide you with the best possible service and one that best suits your needs; we also want to ensure that all our residents are being treated equally. In order to do this, we recently sent you a Residents Profiling survey, which will help us to:

• monitor the delivery of our services • shape and improve our services and options • make it easier for you to contact us • provide a more user friendly service • help you get involved in the way you want to. All the information you give us will be treated confidentially and will only be used by us. We will never sell your details to another organisation and we will keep all information in accordance with the Data Protection Act. If you would like further information regarding Residents Profiling, please contact us on 01267 232714.

© Glen Jones |



27, 28 + 29 August Bank holiday activities National Botanic Gardens of Wales 01558 668768 10 September Carmarthen Arts & Crafts Street Market Guildhall Square, Carmarthen 07748 270439 10 + 11 September Blas Tywi Community Food Festival Dinefwr Park, Llandeilo 01558 825336 18 September Vintage Day Dinefwr Park & Castle, Llandeilo Vintage machinery and traditional craft displays 01558 824512 25 September Antiques & Flea Market United Counties Showground, Carmarthen 01267 236569

Ready meals and takeaways can be expensive because you are paying for the processing and preparation, but sometimes you just have to eat on the run or feed the family in a hurry.




We all know that take aways are not much good for us, and that it can be cheaper and often quicker and more nutritious to buy basic ingredients and make your own meals. But for the times when there’s no alternative to fast food, here are a few handy tips to avoid the worst of the take away trouble zones:

© Rewat Wannasuk |

summer days out


• Remove the batter from fish • Blot chips on some absorbent kitchen roll • Choose a deep pan pizza with extra vegetable topping and less cheese • Opt for smaller burgers – hold the cheese and ditch the shoestring fries • Plain boiled rice is much healthier than pilau rice or egg fried rice • Avoid creamy or oily curries such as korma or biryani – choose dry

roasted tandoori meat dishes or tomato or onion based dahls and curries instead

Chinese sauces tend to be lower in fat (but high in salt and sugar) but watch out for spring rolls, prawn crackers and deep-fried dishes.

TOP 10 TIPS FOR HEALTHY EATING ON A BUDGET Aberglasney House Set in the beautiful Tywi valley, Aberglasney House features one of the finest gardens in Wales. The story of Aberglasney spans many centuries, but the house's origins are still shrouded in obscurity. From April to September, the gardens are open 10am-6pm (last entry 5pm).


1 Buy leaner cuts of meat – there’s less wasone get one free 2 Watch out for special offers, such as buy ad, meat and veg 3 Shop at the end of the day for reduced bre 4 Grate cheese to make it go further foods you buy often 5 Save coupons or money-off vouchers for usually be cheaper will 6 Fruit and veg in season or from a market only what you need and use to 7 Frozen veg allows you store the rest store them in a 8 Buy large bags of potatoes andlast dark, dry place to make them y and own 9 Try buying supermarket econom ed tinn like s item ic label brands for bas and d goo as ally usu are tomatoes – they always cheaper pping but 10 Make a list before you go sho up. s be flexible if a good offer turn

! Don’t shop when you’re hungry

Sgwrs Summer 2011



Create a hit every time with this tasty pud!



Capture the essence of summer with this cool, refreshing, delicious summer pudding. Preparation time: 30 mins (plus overnight in the fridge) Serves 8

Ingredients 1kg (2lb) mixed berries (use a combination of raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, redcurrants or blackcurrants) 160g (5½oz) caster sugar 10 thin slices stale white bread, crusts removed

Summer Pudding



Place the berries, sugar and 60ml (2fl oz) of water in a saucepan. Simmer on a low heat and cook, stirring to dissolve the sugar, for 3-4 minutes, or until the fruit has softened and produced lots of juice. When cool, pour the juice into a flat dish, reserving the fruit.

2. Cut one slice of bread into a circle

small enough to fit the base of a 1.5l (48 fl oz) pudding basin, and another large enough to fit the top. Cut the remaining slices into

triangles. Dip both sides of the smaller circle of bread quickly into the juice and place it in the bottom of the pudding basin. Dip both sides of each triangle into the juice, then line the inside of the basin with the juice-soaked bread, overlapping them slightly to make sure there are no gaps.

3. Fill the bread-lined basin with

berries, drizzle with any remaining juice and top with the larger circle of bread, trimming it to fit if necessary.

4. Cover the top of the pudding with

clingfilm, then place a small plate that just fits inside the rim of the basin on top. Press the plate in, then weigh it down with a heavy can or two. Place the basin in a shallow dish to catch any juice, and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.

5. To serve, run a thin knife around the inside of the basin and invert the pudding on to a plate. Cut into wedges and serve accompanied with plenty of thick cream.


find the to win


Highlight each of the 20 hobbies below that are hidden in the Wordsearch box, then send your entry to the Editor at the Bro Myrddin office by 1st October 2011. If yours is the first correct entry out of the hat, the £25 prize will be heading your way! ASTRONOMY BEACHCOMBING CANDLEMAKING COLLECTING CRAFTS GARDENING GEMS GENEALOGY MAGIC MINERALS


Congratulations to Mrs Wetton of Pontyberem for winning the Spring word search competition.


Sgwrs Summer 2011

Sgwrs Summer 2011  

Sgwrs Summer 2011

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