The Towy Community Church have transformed a huge 2.7 acre site into a thriving social enterprise serving the Carmarthen community in a multitude of ways. The project team acquired a disused St Ivel cheese packing factory in Carmarthen as an asset transfer and has transformed it into a thriving social enterprise.

Opening in 2013, the bowling alley not only provides the majority of the group’s income, it has fast become a social hub for all sections of the community. It has a family friendly atmosphere with a cafe offering great quality food. Offering a soft play area and discounts aimed at all sections of the community, it caters to all.

They received almost £800k from the Big Lottery Community Asset Transfer Programme to fund the acquisition and refurbishment of the redundant former cheese packing plant in Carmarthenshire.

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The Xcel project involved converting the building into a multi-purpose community facility including

  • a state of the art ten pin bowling alley
  • soft play centre
  • cafe
  • food bank
  • furniture recycling facility
  • community shop on site

The organisation spent a considerable amount of time consulting with the local community to ensure they ended up with an offering that would meet expectations, as well as attracting a customer base ready for their opening.

The project has;

  • Created over 40 jobs
  • Attracted over 100 volunteers
  • Supported over 8000 people locally
  • A turnover of £1 million

Lesson Learned

  • Build a good team
  • If you don’t know ask
  • Appreciate everyone

The next phase of the development is a state of the art conference centre.