A flock of Ospreys swooped into Y Bont family centre in Bridgend on Wednesday, the second of three 'Volunteers Days' taking place across the region during pre-season.
Local youngsters Tom Prydie and Tom Grabham led a group of players into their community that included older heads such as Mefin Davies, Ian Evans, Tom Smith and Cai Griffiths, along with Tom Smith, Dan Biggar, Richard Kelly, summer signings Aaron Jarvis and Ken Dowding, along with youngsters Hanno Dirksen, Daniel Suter and Emyr Williams.
The ‘Volunteers Days’ are the idea of the squad, who wanted to be able to do something different during the summer months that would allow them to give back to the local Ospreylian communities, and the visit to Y Bont, saw the players spending time at the summer holiday play scheme, where they assisted the staff in providing activities for the children, engaging them in interactive play, while also getting to know their parents and siblings, who are part of a close-knit family at the centre.
While Cai Griffiths proved a hit with the boys at Y Bont, enjoying the monster trucks in the activity garden, Ian Evans was leading a group in rugby activity on the playing fields. At the same time, Ken Dowding was proving to be a very popular horse, while Mefin Davies made one special fan, who particularly liked his beard.
Speaking about the visit to Y Bont, Ian Evans said:
“It was brilliant. There’s no other word to describe it. The staff there do a fantastic job so to be able to help them was an honour. The children there were great, full of energy and excited about the visit. We all really enjoyed it.”
Hailing from Bridgend, youngster Tom Grabham was pleased to be able to do something in his local community:
“For most of the boys in the squad, the Ospreys are our home region and we are proud to represent our local community. For me, to be able to see something like this in Bridgend, and to be able to help out for the afternoon was great. I spoke to a few people there who are Ospreys fans and they’ll be coming to see us at the Liberty Stadium this season. Hopefully, they’ll bring a few friends from Y Bont with them.”
Newcomer Aaron Jarvis arrived in the region this summer after signing from Bath, and he said that the Volunteers Days are great way of getting to know the local community:
“It’s a real privilege to be invited somewhere like Y Bont to spend the afternoon with everybody here. It’s been a fantastic day and I think everyone has enjoyed it and found it worthwhile, that’s us, the children and their families and the staff.
“For someone like me who’s new to the region, it’s great to be able to get out and really get to know the people in the community. I’ve had some real fun with the children this afternoon and found it very humbling. There were a few Ospreys shirts on display, and speaking to people there, a few of them will be coming to watch us because they’ve taken advantage of the kids go free season tickets. That’s excellent news, because we have to support each other, the Ospreys and the local communities.”
Y Bont is a purpose built family centre in Bridgend that provides care and support to disabled children through high quality play, support and medical services.
The original idea for a resource centre such as Y BONT began in the early 1990’s when a small group of families who had children with disabilities identified the need for a place where they could meet and where their children could be looked after by qualified and experienced staff.
They felt that there was a gap in the support that they could access from the statutory agencies – particularly in the very early stage of their child’s life - and so they registered as a charity in 1993 and set about fundraising. The centre opened in September 1997 and continues to grow from strength to strength. A registered charity, Y Bont relies entirely on fund raising efforts to be able to operate.
Last week saw the Ospreys visit Swn Y Mor Residential Care Home in Port Talbot where a group including the likes of Joe Bearman, Duncan Jones, Sonny Parker and Ashley Beck spent time with residents, serving afternoon tea and taking them for a walk along Aberavon sea-front.
There is one remaining ‘Volunteers Day’ scheduled for Wednesday 3rd August, when players are available to assist community projects or initiatives based within the region. Supporters can nominate suitable charities, community projects or initiatives, or a similar good cause, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
To see our fantastic gallery from the visit, visit our Official Facebook page here