Local Hero of the Month – Nathan Howells

Who is this month’s local hero?

Nathan at The Play Yard, Treorchy.

What have they been doing?

Nathan started as manager of The Play Yard in late 2018 when Valleys Kids took over the run-down facility as a social enterprise. Since then, Nathan has worked tirelessly to improve and enhance the facility adding a children’s role play area, room hire, bring in lots of external services such as Balance ability and Rock a Tots, the soft play, a Ninja Warrior Course, party hire, Rugby Starz and most recently securing funding to install a sensory play area. He also set up a Christmas toy appeal and Breakfast with Santa sessions, and set up and manages a food share scheme from the venue.

 

Since The Yard closed due to COVID-19, Nathan has filled their social media with local stories after inviting people to #TellUsSomethingGood and from Monday, April 6th, they will be offering a child’s takeaway meal free of charge to families understanding that these are unprecedented and worrying times for everybody.

 

Why are they amazing?

Nathan has approached every challenge as an opportunity and really has created a community space where families feel welcome and valued. The Play Yard is colourful, exciting and safe. Nathan works exhaustively on social media (with 5,000 followers) ensuring the local communities stay engaged and excited by what they are doing. The developments there have been astonishing in a short period of time. What Nathan has also done is built an incredible team of people around him. Without the staff The Yard would not be what it is, and Nathan has nurtured a workplace where people feel valued and trusted and really enjoy being there.

Social enterprises of this nature are hard work and face many ups and downs but Nathan and his team under the guidance of Richard at Valleys Kids throw themselves at it with a pace that is frenetic and inspiring. We wish you luck during this period and can’t wait to see what happens next.

 

Quotes from others

Play Yard represents community spirit at its best! What a fantastic gesture. Well done Play Yard xx”

“So thoughtful, Thank you Nathan, LOCAL IS BEST…. 👍

“You mean so much to us and we thank you for all of your support. We look forward to seeing you again when this is all over x”

“In these very difficult times Nathan has transformed Valleys Kids Play Yard in Treorchy into making and distributing 150 free children’s’ meals a day to isolated families.”

“Fabulous facility and it’s great the way you engage with local schools. Engaging with them, getting them to come along to help sort and pack the community food hampers every week is a great way to get the children involved in real issues that are happening around them, and of course they love to ‘play’ afterwards.”