Tuesday 6 May 2014

Terms and conditions do not apply

Xcel Bowl, Carmarthenshire's unique experiment in fundamentalist evangelism and ten pin bowling, officially opened in June last year. The council's share of funding for the project was just over £1.4 million if you include the building gifted on a 99 year lease, and part of the package sold to councillors was that "around 17" new jobs would be created (see Council press release).

Visitors to the bowling alley have been struck by how many of the staff appear to be church volunteers as opposed to employees. How many people have really been employed is not clear, even though almost every penny of the funding came from the public purse.

To mark the opening Carmarthenshire County Council granted the new bowling alley a licence to sell alcohol from 10 am to 9.30 pm, despite earlier promises from the church to local residents that it would not sell booze.

Why it was necessary to be licensed from 10 am is not clear, but perhaps there are some young mums who appreciate an early morning can of cider or bottle of rosé as they watch their toddlers enjoy the new play area.

In addition to the new play area, the church's bowling alley also has a smart new website which proudly displays the logos of its various benefactors. They include Carmarthenshire County Council, CWM (the council's wholly owned waste management company), CAVS (run by the council) and RDP Sir Gâr (EU funding managed by the council). The other sponsors are the Big Lottery Fund and the Welsh Government.

The Big Lottery Fund gives anyone considering applying for funding the following advice:

If you receive funding from the Big Lottery Fund to deliver a project in Wales, you will need to do
so bilingually, in line with Big Lottery Fund’s Welsh Language Scheme.

Offering your projects services in both Welsh and English is a term and condition of grant, but it is also a fantastic opportunity for you to make sure that you’re project is accessible to everyone in your community.

Despite this, Xcel's website and Facebook page are available in English only.

Presumably the county council, which is supposed to encourage its partners to use Welsh, also forgot to make a bilingual service a condition of the funding package.

But let's not forget that this is a social enterprise which is committed to ploughing any money it makes back into community good causes. What constitutes a good cause is open to discussion, but sponsorship of Carmarthenshire News, the council's controversial newspaper, is not what most people would consider to be a good cause.


Anonymous said...

Proof if proof were needed that religion is just a load of balls.....

Anonymous said...

CAVS isn't run by the Council, they fund it but it is a charitable company limited by guarantee with a Board of Trustees. And much less influenced by the council since Mair Stephens gave up being the Chair.
However, if they are supporting the Xcel Bowl bunch, then they ought to be ashamed of themselves.
And frankly the Xcel bowl born again nasties will certainly be doing something that will not stand up to public scrutiny - someone(s) need to be all over them like rash until you found out what it is that they can be called to account for. In whatever language you like

Cneifiwr said...

Thanks for point out that CAVS is at arm's length from the council Anon @8.51.

Anonymous said...

Once again we have a distorted picture painted by a disgruntled blogger and Welsh language zealot,typical of the kind of thing we have come to expect on these pages. Far from there being no Welsh language on the Xcel website, Y Cneifiwr has conveniently overlooked the very top of the front page, which clearly spells out "bowlio xcel bowl" - surely this is all a Welsh speaker would want?

Redhead said...

We have a "council supported community enterprise company" that operates our only community space. The three directors cream off all the profits and nothing whatsoever goes back to the community. It is staffed entirely by unpaid volunteers who seem to have no idea whose lifestyles they are supporting. They really do think that the directors are "lovely people" who work hard for the community.

It seems unlikely that they will ever realise (a) they are contributing only to the directors big salaries and (b) they are doing quite a large number of people out of jobs they could be paid for.

Cneifiwr said...

Anon @15.30 In my blinkered zealotry I also overlooked the words "Sir Gâr" at the bottom of the page.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha! Good comments. How can people tell the "staff" are volunteers? I guessed as much - from their air of earnestness.

Anonymous said...

I have volunteered here and they made me go to church and give everything I earned from other job to the church. These Christians have gone mad, it's all power to their head. Soon they will take over everything in Carmarthen. All Christians care about is money in their pocket. Do not volunteer they will make you a Christian.

passerby said...

thier cafe menu seems to be on the pricey side... £5.49 for a burger