Little Bryn Gwyn
Having leased Little Bryn Gwyn from Barnardos for a number of years we were finally able to purchase it in 2004.
It is a tiny cottage set in 6 acres of land on the Gower, where, as one Youth Worker said "You can do more effective youth work in one weekend at Little Bryn Gwyn, than in a whole six months in youth club."
We bring children and young people from all four Valleys Kids Centres here for residential sessions where they can experience, fun, freedom and responsibility. It gives them opportunities to grow in skills, confidence and self-esteem.
It also offers respite space for families who may never have the chance to have a holiday.
If you go down to the woods today you’ll be sure of a big surprise. You won’t find too many teddy bears amongst Valleys Kids staff and they don’t do picnics but deep in the Gower peninsula you’re more than likely to be hit by a wave of high octane valley energy if you come across a party of intrepid valley explorers visiting their residential retreat at Little Bryn Gwyn.
Click here to see Little Bryn Gwyn in action Summer Play Video
Set in six acres of farmland, ditches and marsh Little Bryn Gwyn is an old farm cottage crouching in a huddle of trees with the unbroken splendour of the Gower coastline tracing its way round its doorstep . For disadvantaged children and their families for whom holidays are something that other people have, it’s a fairytale getaway, a bolthole under blue skies alongside an aquamarine sea. And with a team of playworkers and artworkers providing a banquet of adventures and activities, the fairytale picture is almost complete – and they have even been know to rustle up a mean picnic.But as idyllic as Little Bryn Gwyn sounds it’s fair to say the cottage itself is a little bit run down, ramshackle and down at heel. But not down and out as it’s about to get a Down To Earth makeover.
The Down To Earth project are the not so noisy neighbours a mere owl’s screech across a sheep littered field. They are not just neighbours but kindred spirits, blood brothers and fellow travellers in working with the disadvantaged. And they work in sustainability. In a remarkable ethos of mutual understanding and respect, their site, hidden behind the neat hedgerows of Swansea suburbia, has been built by the ‘hard to reach’ groups themselves that they set out to work with.
The whole site is a living testament to the world of carbon negative and sustainable land use. Spread over four acres of sloping woodland dipping down to the sea, it is a surrealistic gaggle of cob cottages and strawbale buildings, sculpted outdoor seating all interlaced by a network of cockle shells like some Gaudi Doctor Seuss hybrid. It’s almost as if a rural cartoon Barcelona has landed in a field in the Gower.All of this created by the similarly marginalised groups that Valleys Kids work with. And now in a symbiotic partnership Down To Earth wish to do the same at Little Bryn Gwyn.
In an exciting development for both groups, planning approval has already been granted for a cutting edge new residential training centre . As well as rethinking and reinventing the residential cottage itself, a necklace of workshop and barn housing will dot the land all constructed from scratch by groups using sustainable methods. Any risk of old fashioned charm being lost will be militated against by the use of traditional means and materials, creating an even more visceral link with the area’s history and heritage.This is a seven year plan and one where the process will be as exciting and as involving for the participants as the eventual outcome. So if you go down in the woods over the next few years you will definitely be sure of a big surprise. A band of valleys Eco pioneers creating a sustainable and traditional picnic area.