The Tea Rooms, Glynneath – How a Micro Fund can support local business

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The Tea Rooms opened in Glynneath in June 2020 and as well as Tea Rooms took on lease for the upstairs of the building. They approached the fund for help to turn this into a usable community space. Previously a beauty salon, they converted and decorated the rooms to create an office space and a storeroom for the tearoom.

The office space was initially offered to a range of self-employed people locally who needed suitable working space away from home office and this was becoming popular and then Covid struck. With the various restrictions they had to close the room hire and tea rooms but were able to rent the kitchen downstairs to a local baker who was able to relocate from her home kitchen to a professional baking space and this has resulted in an excellent working relationship for both parties.

Had it not been for COVID they would have been renting upstairs space regularly – they had made excellent links with a variety of people – two mental health training officers were hiring the office on a weekly basis and found the space ideal to use for their work. They offered excellent Wi-Fi along with a quiet working space where the only distraction was the smell of baking coming from the kitchen. A former teacher who was writing and illustrating a children’s book also hired the office on a regular basis. Not only was this providing quality, affordable working space but all parties were also purchasing lunch and treats from the Tea Rooms benefitting all.

As restrictions lift, they are confident they can re-start the activity and already have enquiries from local mums who are starting a business and need space without formal lease at this stage. They are also offering shelf space in tearoom and soon will have local jewellery and craft available for sale.

The support from PYC has ensured that The Tea Rooms have been able to continue to open (mainly part time during restrictions) throughout the pandemic and hopefully will continue to develop as a business and become more sustainable for the future years. They have recently been able to employ a ‘Saturday girl’ who comes in on their business days and they are now receiving take away orders from local business including the local Doctors Surgery.

“We are really pleased that we are still in business! We have seen so many businesses especially in hospitality not survive this pandemic and all the restrictions that have been imposed on the sector that that we are very grateful to be able to continue to open our doors. Securing the building has given us long term security to develop the Tea Room as a sustainable and hopefully thriving business in the years to come. Prior to Covid we had joined the Chatty Cafe Scheme and we will continue to offer a safe space for those feeling lonely or isolated and in need of a chat. Even on busy days, we try to find the time to chat to those who have made the effort to visit the Tea Room and show their support. We have recently taken the plunge and registered ourselves on Trip Advisor and at the time of submitting this report we have received 12 5* star reviews with some lovely comments – about our customer service and quality of the food and cakes which is really delightful to read.”