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A GROUP of volunteers dedicated to helping the community during the coronavirus pandemic have found themselves in need of help.

Risca Covid-19 Volunteers are in desperate need of contractors who are able to get to work immediately to get their new home finished.

The group was created at the start of the first lockdown last March, and for a number of months has been based at the St John Ambulance Hall in Risca.

But, with St John’s planning to resume their work on March 22, the group will no longer be able to use the building.

The organisation has been given a 10-year lease at the former Rolling Mill pub in Pontymister, to be able to have a large space to use for all their work and storage - but needs help redeveloping the building into a community hub.

Dawn Derraven, organiser of the group, said: “They (St John Ambulance) have been really kind to us and have given us great support, but there won’t really be room for us once they start their training sessions again.

“The Rolling Mill work has started but we’re finding it very difficult to find contractors who are able to work as soon as we need, perhaps not all of them are working again yet, but it’s proving really difficult.

“We’d like to appeal for any qualified contractors who might be able to give some time to our refurbishment to get in touch with us. We need everything; the installation of windows and doors which AL UK are supplying free of charge, roofing, the electrics rewired, plumbing, flooring, heating, internal walls, a small kitchen, fitted bathrooms.”


PoBL Housing Group and AL UK are helping with the internal work and providing support. Ms Derraven said: “We really are becoming desperate for work to be done quickly. We are able to cover the costs of materials through both the owner and PoBL contractors, so just need the final piece of the puzzle, the experts, to enable us to continue supporting the community.

“Any and all help would be greatly appreciated by us but also by the vulnerable people who we support.”

The new base at the Rolling Mill will provide space for multiple planned projects and future ideas. There will be a large hall for the Tin on a Wall collections, offices, a drop-in sofa area and a digital media suite.

It will be the host site for all of their projects including an emergency foodbank, craft and knowledge sessions, jigsaw library, school uniform recycle, digitally inclusive activities, sign language sessions and their Integrated Wellbeing Network.

More services are also being prepared including a bicycle project, a community fridge and a laptop recycle scheme.

While the group began as a Covid-19 support group, they are not intending to stop when the pandemic is over, with a number of their current and future projects aiming to fill in gaps in the community in a post-coronavirus world. “We have huge plans that are all defined by what is needed by our community,” said Ms Derraven, “We identify a gap in services and work out how we can help fill that gap.”

If any contractors are able to help, please contact riscacv19volunteers@outlook.com

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