Update 27 August
As we can see from the comments below, views of YMCA Llandovery differ sharply. It has certainly received a great deal of money in the last few years, and it is reasonable that this should come under scrutiny.
Someone who knows Jill Tatman well and whose judgement I respect has been in touch to say that she has worked very hard to serve Llandovery for the last 25 years.
As Jac's article contains detailed claims, it seems that the best way of clearing up any misunderstandings would be for YMCA Llandovery to respond and exercise its right of reply on that blog.
We interrupt this series to report breaking news over on Jac o' the North's blog. For those not familiar with Jac it will probably suffice to say that Cneifiwr and Jac don't always see eye to eye on politics, but the old boy has an annoying habit of being right, at least some of the time.
The latest revelations concern YMCA Wales and the YMCA in Llandovery in particular, with its "Jesus Cares" foodbox distribution programme that one very well-informed source reckons must rival Ocado* in size and reach - assuming that it is actually delivering what it claims to deliver.
You can read Jac's piece here (scroll about half-way down), and there you will see among other things that YMCA Llandovery has also been very successful at applying for grants, including:
- £44,000 from Carmarthenshire County Council in 2011
- £103,000 from the Big Lottery in 2012
- £16,000 from Carmarthenshire County Council in 2013
- £250,000 from the People and Places Lottery Fund in 2014 for a "groundbreaking therapeutic and emotional support project"
As Jac reports, the police have been asked to investigate YMCA Wales by the Welsh Government. YMCA Llandovery is a separate charity, albeit with close links to YMCA Wales, including until very recently a shared trustee, Mo Sykes.
More on this in due course, including questions which have been raised about the remuneration enjoyed by YMCA Llandovery's management, generous pension schemes and to what extent Carmarthenshire County Council has been involved in advising the charity's management on ingenious financial engineering practices.
Questions are also being asked about why this charity in what is one of the more affluent parts of Carmarthenshire was apparently distributing twice as many "Jesus Cares" foodboxes as a broadly similar operation in the Rhondda, and why it was necessary to ship the contents of the boxes all the way from the King's Church in Newport.
*Ocado is a very upmarket grocery delivery business run by Waitrose, part of John Lewis. The nearest Waitrose to this part of the world is in Barry, about 90 miles away. If you fancy paying £3.50 for an unwaxed lemon, you know where to go, otherwise stick to Aldi and Lidl like a good Cardi.