COMMUNITY LIFE

 

 St Cattwg's Church and its Hall continue to play a pivotal role in village life in Llanmaes and with all efforts being made to encourage the residents of the village to actively become involved in a range of social and fund raising activities. The majority of activities taking place within the village recognise the age differential between young children, adolescents and older members of the community, and therefore it is identified as to the importance in being flexible in providing ideally something to suit 'all tastes.'

St Cattwg's Church is one of the seven churches making up the Rectorial Benefice of Llantwit Major within the Church in Wales. A Holy Eucharist service is held each Sunday at 11.00 a.m., except for the fourth Sunday of each month which is reserved for Matins. Two or three times a year a very popular "Songs of Praise" event is held in the evening. The Church has in recent years had a very active Sunday School and children's choir which always took a leading part in Sunday services, particularly the monthly family service. On holy days, the choir would sing special pieces and act out religious dramas, for example Joseph's Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat. At the time of writing, the children who had taken part in these activities have reached college age and have consequently moved out of the village during term time, but it is always nice during university holidays to see some of them returning and making their very special contribution. There are now some very young children in Llanmaes, many of whom have been baptised in St Cattwg's and are encouraged to attend services with their parents.

St. Cattwg's Church

The congregation of the Church is both friendly and socially active. There are frequent social events which are often combined with fund-raising activities to support the Church Tower Appeal. In the past few years, for example, we have held numerous barbecues, quiz evenings, supper parties and Harvest Suppers at the Church Hall. These enjoyable events frequently end with a sing-song, as befits inhabitants of the "Land of Song". At Christmas time in addition to the usual Christmas services and carol service, carol singers from St Cattwg's Church proceed around the village, usually ending their endeavours in the warmth of the Blacksmiths Arms.

Newcomers to the village who have attended Church have frequently complimented the members of the congregation on the warm welcome they are given. It is very satisfying to reflect that we have a growing congregation when so many Churches are faced with the prospect of closure.

Llanmaes has an active Women's Institute which was founded in 1949, and with one of the founder members still involved and contributing to the groups overall aims and philosophy. Although much has changed over the past forty eight years, the W.I. still plays an integral part in the life of the village. There are currently eighteen members who meet every second Tuesday of the month in the Village/Church Hall. A varied programme is on offer, and with a diverse range of speakers - from flower arranging to 'surfing' the internet. The group also enjoy regular trips to the theatre. Plans are currently being made as to how to celebrate the groups fiftieth anniversary in 1999.

The only public house in the village, the Blacksmiths Arms, is also a crucial asset to the village. Whilst noted for its friendly and welcoming atmosphere, wide range of beers, wines and excellent food, it is also regarded by its landlady as facilitating village people getting together via a wide range of activities and events. Many local meetings are also held in the public house.

While there is no current village newsletter in existence, the Community Council in conjunction with the village public house, the Blacksmiths Arms, are undertaking to publish a newsletter which would focus on events in the village, children's information and topical issues. Local people could also advertise in the newsletter, with the revenue being used for village funds and to offset any publishing and printing costs.

Llanmaes does have an information booklet published by the Community Council and circulated to every household in the village it is updated on a regular basis and contains many useful telephone numbers and addresses. The printing of the information booklet is funded via advertising by local businesses and with the Community Council also making a donation from the advertising revenue to the local church.

Keeping village people informed regarding events and other important issues is identified as being paramount. The village notice board, located in the bus shelter on the edge of the village green is a central point for displaying information and publicising events etc. At the same time 'flyers' are regularly distributed by volunteers from the village to all households to give notification of events, canvas opinion and/or information relating to specific issues or events. Posters, where appropriate, are also displayed at various points throughout the village. The circulation and distribution of information is vital throughout the village, and as a means of ensuring that everyone in the village is aware of events. (The choice of whether or not to become involved is then theirs)!

The Village/Church Hall is the venue for the majority of social events that take place in Llanmaes.

 

 

The Hall itself has a long and interesting history. On 28 April 1863 a piece of land measuring a quarter of one acre was given by deed poll to the Minister and Church Wardens of St. Cattwg's Church by the Earl of Dunraven to build a Church school, and, by October 1879 a Church Voluntary School had been established. The school flourished until the early 1900's despite opposition by the non conformists and the Liberal dominated County Council.

After the passing of the Education Act 1902, Non-Provided or Voluntary Schools received County Council grants towards teachers salaries. This caused antagonism between the established Church and the Liberal party. In 1903 the Welsh members of parliament and the non-conformist leaders in Wales met in Swansea and passed a resolution that, "............ the County Councils of Wales and Monmouthshire be recommended to refrain from applying rates to support such schools".

Given all the antagonism and lack of support, the managers of Llanmaes school found the pressures too great for them. Unable to compete with the nearby Llantwit Major Board School who were able to pay their teachers a better salary, by 1912 Llanmaes school had given up the struggle and was closed.

The Parish continued to use the building as a Church Hall for various functions, but sadly, due to the lack of finance the building was allowed to deteriorate. During the 1970's a small kitchen extension was built and later the building was re-roofed. The Hall continued to be utilised as a nursery school and was also used by other bodies for social activities and fund raising events. Unfortunately the full potential for using the Hall was limited given the internal facilities.

In recent years, and subsequent to two successful grant applications to the Vale of Glamorgan Borough Council, the hall has been totally refurbished, making it an ideal facility for a wide variety of events and occasions. The hall was also made to be accessible to disabled people and wheelchair users.

The range of activities now taking place at the Hall are of a wide variety and cater for all age groups. The installation of central heating has also enabled volunteers in the village to organise the childrens' Christmas parties.

Uncle Eric in Action

Other activities also include, relaxation and meditation groups, choir groups, aerobics, a wide range of meetings and "seminars" and live entertainment (anybody for line dancing?). During the summer months the Hall is used for barbecues and "village lunches", with the grounds of the Hall and its lawn making it an ideal venue. The management and practical duties associated with the maintenance and upkeep of the Hall is in the main undertaken by volunteers from the village. Another group of volunteers are also to take on the task of constructing an outside patio area with a "built in" barbecue facility.

Recognise the Rugby Star?

Brown Lion Cottage - The Goose Dinner

 The opportunity of holding a celebration, social event, fete or a street party marking a national event is something of a long tradition in Llanmaes.

Note the village pump to the right

Such events give all residents of the village, young and old alike, the chance of using their creative and sometimes artistic skills for village entertainment. On such occasions a variety of groups i.e. W.I., Church Council, Community Council, nursery group, young and older residents of the village give their time voluntarily in order to make the occasion successful. Funds raised from a variety of village events are routed towards charities both locally and further afield.

 

 

 

Residents of Llanmaes have always been generous regarding fund raising events, either in material or monetary terms. A resident of the village had in the past been the driver of a vehicle, as part of a convoy taking aid to Bosnia and Croatia. In addition to food, clothing and medical supplies, residents of the village raised nearly 2,000.

 

 

Events are usually however done in the true spirit of friendship and allowing everyone to have a good time. (Whether or not you choose to dress up for the occasion).

 

"Fancy Dress a Speciality"

" .... Who will buy"

"Anyone for a song ......"

 

  Consideration is currently being given to celebrating the millennium.

 

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