Jane Parker (left), Area Manager, Swansea Building Society, and Cherrie Bija (right), CEO, Faith in Families

Demonstrating unwavering commitment to local communities during its centenary year, Swansea Building Society is making a significant impact with a generous donation of £30,000 to the Swansea-based charity Faith in Families. This substantial contribution is earmarked to play a pivotal role in the renovation and repair of the essential Community Cwtch situated at St Teilo’s Church in Portmead.

Established in 1999, Faith in Families is a charity with centres in Swansea and Brecon offering a range of services from childcare to lunch clubs. Its three Swansea centres are based in deprived areas of the city and provide support and inspiration to families within the community. The charity’s vision is to build brighter futures and create a city where every child can reach their full potential.

Swansea Building Society’s involvement with the charity began in October 2022, when the Society’s Chief Executive, Alun Williams, and Area Manager, Jane Parker, met with Cherrie Bija, CEO of Faith in Families, during a visit to St Teilo’s Church, known as Teilo’s Community Cwtch.

During the meeting, Bija outlined the extensive work that Faith in Families conducts to uplift families in Swansea grappling with poverty, explaining how the Community Cwtch serves as a cornerstone in the local neighbourhood, offering essential services and support to families and individuals in need.

The multifunctional facility consists of a main hall utilised for diverse events, training sessions, and gatherings, including Teilo’s Tots – an affordable childcare setting that last year provided over 40,000 hours of support to young children. In addition, a fully equipped professional kitchen and café area facilitate cookery lessons and provide a warm environment for meals. The centre extends support through various avenues, from parenting programs and literacy courses to IT skills training aimed at aiding adults in securing employment. The centre also hosts breakfast, lunch, and tea clubs, holiday activity clubs, and youth clubs, fostering a sense of togetherness and community spirit.

During the visit, however, Bija revealed that due to a leaky roof and inadequate insulation, one of the rooms remained unusable for six months each year, greatly affecting the facility’s functionality and comfort.

Moved by the charity’s plight, Parker orchestrated a project team, convening a meeting with members of the local business community, who were similarly inspired by the organisation’s remarkable story and rallied to offer their assistance.

In a heartwarming display of goodwill and community solidarity, support swiftly poured in. A roof survey was undertaken, along with re-costing of repair work by a quantity surveyor, and a bat survey. Additionally, donations were made by various businesses for materials, labour and scaffolding.

Following the culmination of these collective efforts, work is poised to commence at the end of the month (August 2023), propelled by the funds donated by Swansea Building Society. The repair and renovation of the space will include a re-decoration of the interior, insulation, and a new suspended ceiling.

Jane Parker, Area Manager, Swansea Building Society, said:

“I cannot adequately express my thanks for the incredible support we have received. The remarkable bond and respect that Swansea Building Society enjoys within the business community has surpassed all expectations. Cherrie and her dedicated teams continue to effect transformative change in our most needy communities, and it’s truly humbling to witness their selfless efforts day in and day out.”

Cherrie Bija, CEO of Faith in Families, commented:

“Last year, Faith in Families helped almost 12,000 children. Our main focus has always been supporting them, and fundraising is crucial for that. Fixing the leaking roof has been a long-standing problem with no solution. The amazing support from Swansea Building Society, local businesses, and partners has been incredible. Their generosity will let us rebuild the space before winter, providing a warm, safe place for children and families when they need it most. This partnership shows how much we can achieve when people and businesses work together for a better future – tackling poverty with kindness and compassion and making Swansea an amazing place for everyone, it’s absolutely immense and we are so grateful for everyone coming together to do this for us.”