• DJ

The Cwmbwrla Connections Advent Calendar - Day Eighteen


There’s something very satisfying about seeing a friend discover a talent and share it. This Autumn our book “Cwmbwrla, Coronavirus and Community” has been well-reviewed, with praise for high quality contributions by local writers and community leaders including Mal Pope, David Brayley, Peter Black and Carolyn Harris. No one’s contribution has been more popular than Al Cryf East, whose superb account of the work at Cwmbwrla Day Centre (CREST) shone a light on the selfless professionalism of a team whose efforts during lockdown were every bit as focused and impactful as the support they’d offered in the weeks and months leading up to it.

Long renowned as a place of welcome for people seeking to socialise and learn news skills, in September 2019 the Centre broadened its service to offer courses of study to people experiencing mental health issues and to the carers supporting them. How many of us knew of the centre but didn’t know exactly what it offered? And how many of us fully grasped the lengths the CREST team went to in maintaining phone contact with service users during lockdown?

People struggling with isolation were encouraged and supported day after day, reassured that they were not alone during this confusing and frightening time and made to feel that they had friends close at hand just when they needed them most.

It takes a person of empathy to appreciate the work at CREST, and it takes a writer of talent to communicate its value. Al Cryf East is both. These comments from readers of “Cwmbwrla, Coronavirus and Community” make that abundantly clear.

“The story about the CREST day centre was a lovely reminder of how humour and compassion can build bridges between people. I found it really inspiring.”

“I must have walked past this place a hundred times and not realised what marvellous work was being done there. Thank you Al Cryf East for opening my eyes.”

“The chapter “A Centre of Excellence” is superbly written and does full justice to a vital community service. Great work.”

People who’ve bought “Cwmbwrla, Coronavirus and Community” are eager to see what Al Cryf East does next. It's not surprising. When a writer finds their voice, the results are always interesting. When they use their talent to pay tribute to the good work of others, it’s truly something to celebrate.

Merry Christmas, Al.


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