Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Chloe and I would like to wish all our groups and blog readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year - Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda i chi gyd!
We'd also like to draw eveybody's attention to the new blog that St. Anne's Parent and Toddler group have set up with our help - you can reach it by following the link from this blog site.
See you all in the New Year!

Monday, 19 November 2007

Happy Day!

Yes folks it's a Happy Day today - we've got our first film blogged! Please visit the Out of School Club's blogsite to view this epic production. Sadly Chloe and I have been having major technical difficulties, but we hope these are behind us now. Keep checking the various blogs for other films that are currently in production.

Monday, 12 November 2007

New group making Connections!

Chloe and I have just returned from our first session with a new group joining the Connections project. We'd both like to welcome the Parent & Toddler group who meet at St. Anne's Church Hall every Monday. It was a lively session, but we were able to show some of the adults and children how to use digital cameras and then how to transfer those photos onto a computer. One lady who'd never touched a computer before, managed successfully to transfer the pictures she'd taken and was able to view them on the computer. She was very excited by the whole process and wants now to get her own laptop. We hoping after a few more sessions with us they'll be able to set a blog for their group and link it with the others that have been set up.
Again we wish the Parent & Toddler group a very warm welcome to the project.

Monday, 22 October 2007

IT at Bodlondeb Residential Home, Penparcau

Since about June time, Chloe and I have been visiting Bodlondeb Residential Home here in Penparcau. We haven't spoken on this blog before about our visits there because we were unsure if our offer of IT lessons would be picked up. Thankfully one lady did take us up on the offer - Mrs. Jeremiah. She's been coming faithfully to our lessons every Wednesday, because she wanted to learn how to email. Mrs. Jeremiah had never sat in front of a keyboard/typewriter before, so we had to start with the basics. We are very proud to say that she has progressed wonderfully. So much so Mrs. Jeremiah's son has installed a computer in her room! What makes it even more wonderfully is that a few week ago Mrs. Jeremiah celebrated her birthday - she is now 91 years young! She can email her family with confidence and under our guidance has been able surf the Internet for knitting patterns and newspaper web sites.
But the good new doesn't end there - Mrs. Jeremiah is now working towards creating a digital story/film - a virtual tour of Bodlondeb Residential Home. Once finished we hope that it can be shown to prospective residents of the Home, so that they have a feel of the place before settling in.
We are also pleased to say that other residents are starting to show interest in learning about IT, with two new residents starting the course.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Jam making at the Out of School Club

Yesterday the children at the Penparcau Out of School Club had a special visitor. The chef and cookery writer Elisabeth Luard came to the club to demonstrate how to make blackberry jam. The first thing we all had to do was collect more blackberries. Armed with collecting bowls we went to the edges of the school playing area, where hundreds of blackberries were ripening. The children really enjoyed themselves seeing how many blackberries they could collect - it turned into quite a competitive sport.
Back indoors Elisabeth explained the process of making the jam. Each child had a jar for their jam and this was filled with blackberries. Then an equal amount of sugar was added to the jar so the berries were covered. The children were then encouraged to shake their jars to mix the berries and sugar. The contents were then put into two saucepans and set to boil. While the jam was bubbling away, Elisabeth took the children out to the field to show them wild plants that could be used in cooking - like dandelion leaves, wild sorrel etc. She explained that these could be used in salads or in omelettes.
The jam continuously stirred to ensure that it didn't burn - a knob of butter was added to each pan to get rid of the foam. The mixture was tested every few minutes to see if it was ready to set - this was done by dribbling a few drops onto a cold china plate and also by checking the back of a spoon. Once the jam was ready it was put into the children's jam jars and when it had cooled, a disk of greased proof paper placed onto the jam before the lid was put back on.
The children really enjoyed the whole process and some couldn't wait to taste their jam. Another session has been arrange for the children to do some more cooking with Elisabeth next month.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Third film made -"The Mystery of the Stolen Biscuits"

Well done to the children and staff of the Summer Playscheme at the Out of School Club, Penparcau. This time we had a gripping "whodunit" about some stolen biscuits. Everyone involved had a fun time making the film and they should be proud with the result. We aim to get all three films onto the web as soon as possible, once we've received permissions from parents/guardians.
The 50+ Club are collecting information and resources for their first film and Chloe and I will be going to Tregaron to film some of the Country Market, which will be included in the resulting film.

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Second film - Bug Hunting!!

Yesterday Chloe and I had another fantastic morning at the Out of School Club. This time we worked with Carys, Chris, Phoebe, Sophie and Adam and were able to produce another film - this time about Bug Hunting.The children made a story board for their film and then scripted it. While I was with that part of the group, Chloe took Carys and Chris to show them how to use the camera. Carys became quite the expert by the end of the film. Everyone had a great time making the film and in the afternoon Chloe and I edited it into a 2 minute film.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

First film done by one of the groups.

We are really very excited here at CAP, because one of our groups has done some filming. Two members of the Out of School have shot a short interview style film. The footage is being edited at the moment using Windows Movie Maker. We decided to use that piece of software because it's usually on computers running Windows XP and would be most readily available to most people. As soon as the editing has finished and permissions given, the group will post the film onto YouTube. We will also be finding out how to embed it directly into the Out of School blog site. This has been a major step forward - something the members of the club should be proud of and it proves that they are more than capable of producing their own material. Well done Out of School Club!

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Film Making @ CAP

This week Chloe and I have been learning how to shoot and edit films - this was something both of us were looking forward to , as we'll then be able to pass this information onto the other groups. We both shot footage of each other making and enjoying a smoothie. Yesterday we were doing the film editing using Microsoft Movie Maker. Today we'll be showing our finish products to our tutor, so that he can advise us on how to improve things. Once we're happy with the finished films we'll have a go at putting them on this blog.

Monday, 25 June 2007

HEES grants

Today Chloe and I went on a Home Energy Awareness visit. It's really useful to be able to visit a clients home so that we can immediately see what measures they can take to make their home a warmer and more comfortable place, as well as hopefully saving money on their fuel bills. Today's visit was wonderful because we were able to put our client in touch with the HEES grant people (Home Energy Efficiency Scheme) and it looks like they'll qualify for a grant - this is all the more wonderful because the client had been without any form of house heating (apart from very expensive fan heaters) for 5 years.
If you live in Wales and would like to know more about HEES grants, please got to their website at:

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Our first group is Blogging too!

Chloe and I would like to say a very big "Well done" to the Out of School Club, Penparcau, for their first posting to their blogsite. If you'd like to see the Club's blogsite, please follow the link from this blogsite. They've made a great start and have every right to feel proud of themselves. Their garden is coming along well too - if only the weather was a little better - typical Welsh summer - rain and more rain! But they coped wonderfully with the conditions yesterday.
Another group worked with me, taking example photographs with the digital cameras of film "shots". So we had some examples of "extreme close ups" through to "wide shots". These pictures will be printed off and used to show what the film shots could look like - useful when we start thinking about making the Club's video.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

First planting at the Out of School Club

When Chloe and I arrived at the site we were very pleased to see that the mulch bed had been well laid by Anthea and the group, with layers of cardboard, newspapers and grass cuttings, which had already begun to kill off the grass. The group had also grown on a lot of seedlings, including broad beans, peas, radish, sunflowers and candytuft. We brought along chitted potatoes donated by Bob, runner bean plants donated by Chloe's mum, tomato plants and garlic bulbs donated by Chloe and onion sets and a variety of seeds donated by Chloe's neighbour. We had a huge variety of plants to work with and the children were justly proud of all their work.

The session began at the mulch bed with a demonstration on the safe way to move around with a trowel, and an explanation of how sharp they were. All the children showed me that they could work and move with them safely. We also had art aprons for the children to wear and colourful gloves which were very popular. Chloe taught the children how to make holes in the mulch using a trowel, fill the holes with compost, and gently squeeze a plant out of its container, untangling the roots as they worked. The children then took another handful of compost to bed the plant in, and watered it well.

Placing was important, as the front of the bed gets more sunlight than the back, so potatoes (which can cope with semi-shaded conditions) were put at the back of the bed and the plants which need more sun (the beans and peas) took up the front corner. The mulch bed technique ensures that the plants will need very little weeding, and that all water they get will stay in the ground longer, reducing their reliance on extra watering from children!

Comments were: “I love gardening” and “This is fun!” Several of the children said they would like to take photos of what they had done, and could remember that the first action was to put the wrist band on. They could also remember how to zoom in and out. Some of the girls wanted to show us how well their radishes were growing, and when they discovered that a slug or snail had eaten a hole in one of them, took the opportunity to take a photo showing themselves holding it up with a look of outrage! 8 children took part in the session.

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

50+ Club get to grips with energy efficiency.

On the 4th June the 50+ Club met with us and had a lively session discussing energy efficiency in the home. Chloe got the group to guess how much heat was lost in the home via the roof, walls, windows, floors and gaps round windows and doors. The group were surprised at some of the results especially for heat loss via walls at 35% (the roof being less at 25%). We then discussed measures that could be taken to stop heat loss in the home - 10 inches of loft insulation, cavity wall insulation, double or secondary glazing and general draft proofing.
We then had a short revision piece on how to use digital cameras. As part of their energy efficiency theme it was decided that taking some pictures of different parts of a building would be another chance to practice with the digital cameras. The group was able to use the zoom feature to focus in on doors and windows. The group also took pictures of various types of windows - double glazed, sash single glazed and possibly drafty windows.
Chloe gave the group some information leaflets (HEES grants, Saving your 20%) and also room thermometers. The group had an enjoyable afternoon and were looking forward to the next session.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

First session: Introduction, digital cameras, blog and favourite foods exercise to choose seeds.

Before the session began we risk assessed the area that we would be working in outside. We were pleased to see that cardboard had been laid out on the plot, which will begin the work of killing off the grass. We met the play workers that Anthea had at the session, Andy and Michelle.

We started the session by introducing ourselves – we had homemade name badges of masking tape! – and telling the children what our project was all about. They were very excited to hear that we had lots of new technology to share with them, and especially to hear that they would be making a film. Iestyn took a group of them to show them how to use the digital cameras and I began an exercise on favourite foods with the rest of the children.
I began on the flipchart by asking the children to think of their favourite foods, which we listed, these included:
Chips, chocolate, cheeseburgers, bacon and eggs, KFC, sausages, rice pudding, ice cream, skittles, fruit pastilles, prawn crackers, cawl and chicken.
Interestingly, there was a much larger list of fruit and vegetables that were favourites too:
Sprouts, tomatoes, cabbage, peas, beans, apples, grapes, strawberries, kiwi, pears, peaches, broccoli, salad – red lettuce, carrots, parsnips, potatoes – mashed, plums, bananas, fruit salad, mushrooms and pumpkin.
Out of all these foods, I asked the children to think about what could be grown, and there was a discussion about how chocolate comes from cocoa beans in hot countries. We also discussed how rice pudding comes from rice grains, which is a sort of grass!
The next challenge was for the children to work out which of the foods that could be grown, could be grown here in Wales. They were not sure why it was that cocoa trees, for instance, couldn’t grow here, and were telling me how we could go to Africa, get a bean, bring it back here and grow it! I explained that some plants need a certain degree of heat to grow, and that Wales was just not hot enough for them.
The final list that the children came up with, of their favourite foods that could be grown in Wales, was:
Potatoes, beans, carrots, broccoli, strawberries, cabbage, pumpkins, peas, lettuce, tomatoes.
I explained that I had a small budget to buy seeds, and that I would buy the seeds they had chosen. Meanwhile, Iestyn had been out with the children, getting them to take 3 photos each, and showing them how to download them to the computer, which they enjoyed very much.

CAP meets the Out of School Club

Yesterday Chloe and I met the Out of School Club and had a great time talking about what fruit and vegetables they'd like to grow and also learning how to use a digital camera. They showed us that they'd started to prepare the ground by laying down cardboard, in order to cut out the light and kill off the grass (know as a mulch). They also wanted to show us that they'd started to grow some vegetables in grow bags - radishes, broad beans, peas and sunflowers. While Chloe talked to one small group about what other plants they might like to grow, I was able to show the others how to carry the cameras responsibly; how to switch the camera on and off; how to zoom in and zoom out and how to take a shot. We then went outside and all took some photos. Once we'd finished taking the pictures, I was able to show them how to transfer the photos to the computer - everyone had a go at doing this. We then viewed the pictures, which had turned out really well. Chloe and I then changed groups and repeated what we'd done with the first groups. All in all we and the children had a really enjoyable afternoon.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Soup making at the Penparcau Family Centre

This Wednesday Chloe and I made soup at the Penparcau Family Centre. Chloe started the session by making a homemade Tomato Soup. Again the parents and children were involved in the preparation - weighing , peeling, chopping (adults only) and putting into the saucepan. While the soup was cooking, I was able to show four people how the digital camcorder worked. Everyone agreed that the camcorder wasn't as difficult as most people believed. The camcorder was then used by everyone - taking short films of the soup being made. I was also able to show how to transfer digital pictures from one computer to another using a flash/pen drive - again everyone had an opportunity to try this. While Chloe put the Tomato Soup to one side to cool before blending in the blender, I showed the group how to make Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup. I was able to pass on a few tips I'd learnt, for example, which type of stock cubes to use, how to use cornflour correctly and how adding a small amount of sugared water to a tomato based dish will take away the sharpness of the tomato. Before serving my soup I got it really hot and then stirred in a beaten egg (the heat cooks it immediately) for that authentic Chinese look. We put out some hot bread and garnishes for the soups, which everyone had for lunch. Before we left we also offered a low sodium salt substitute, because we'd notice they'd used salt on their jacket potatoes the previous week.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Smoothies at Penparcau Family Centre

Last Wednesday Chloe and I had a smoothie making session at the Family Centre. Chloe showed a group of parents and children how to make some healthy smoothies - the parents helped with the peeling and chopping, while the children helped with putting fruit into the smoothie maker, pouring of juices or milk and ladling of yoghurt. While they were doing this, I was able to show another small group how to use a digital camera. I then told them to take loads of pictures of the session and that it didn't matter if they made a mistake while taking a picture. Everyone had a chance of taking pictures as the cameras were passed round the group as a whole. The smoothies were very popular - three were made, the last one being a mixture made up by the group and described as being "lush" - and it was! The children really enjoyed the smoothies and Chloe made the point that it was a great way of getting involved with cooking and also great for raising their fruit intake. While they were tidying up the kitchen, I was able to show my group how to view shots taken on the cameras and how to delete unwanted shots. Then we downloaded and viewed them on the computer. Everyone agreed that it was a fairly easy thing to do.

The session was a great start for the Family Centre and we're all looking forward to the next session when we'll be making easy soups.

Monday, 23 April 2007

CAP and Communities First.

You may be wondering where in Penparcau CAP is based. Well if you want to come and meet us, we're at the Communities First office every Monday and Wednesday. If for any reason we aren't there, please leave us a message with Dylan or Peter from Communities First. Come along and see what we do.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

CAP meets the first of their community groups.

Chloe and I have just had a really enjoyable visit to Penparcau Family Centre. We were able to meet with some of the parents and staff and had a lively introduction session to the project. We were able to show this blog site to the group and explain how they could use one of their own. Chloe explained the theme of healthy eating that will be part of their blog and I was able to show the group how to use digital cameras. After having a little play with the cameras, we downloaded the pictures to a laptop. Meanwhile, Chloe was showing some of the others the digital voice recorder and much fun and hilarity was had by all. Before we knew it an hour had gone by and it was time for us to leave, but not before arranging future sessions - next week we're making smoothies and doing some filming!


There is a great bookmarking service:, which allows you to have bookmarks on the web, not on your own website, which is safer and more accessible. I have put lots of my resources up there now, around environmental and social themes, and welcome your thoughts on them. Let me know if you find any of them useful.

We hope to meet our first group today!

Hello to all bloggers. Iestyn and I have been working out how to use all the technical wizardry, playing with the digital cameras and working out our training sessions. We are hoping to meet with a group up at the Family Centre this afternoon, to introduce ourselves and show the clients what they can do with their own blogs.

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

CAP says "Hello" to Penparcau and Aberystwyth

We at CAP wish to extend a very warm welcome to the people and community groups of Penparcau and Aberystwyth - Croeso i chi gyd - Welcome to you all.
Over the coming year, we will be working with local community groups, helping them to have fun creating digital stories on environmental, social or healthy lifestyle themes, uploading these to the internet and linking them to their own blog sites. We aim to give the community groups that participate, the skills to tackle local issues using computers and other exciting new technologies.

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Today has been a training day with the Wales Co-operative Centre's 'Communities@One' project. We've learnt how we can use various forms of technology in our projects. Setting up this blog has been one of the tasks we've learnt to do. For our project (CAP) we will be getting the various community groups to set up their own blog sites and creating digital stories, using freeware and Open Source software.