The amazing Moorland Community Centre; much more than just a hot lunch

Thanks to a superb surge of Sunday-evening support, Moorland Community Centre in Splott has just won £5,000 towards new kitchen equipment in the Stoves Community Kitchens competition.  This is a fantastic achievement by local people and supporters of Moorland, who had to vote for their favourite to win, and is a much-needed boost to the centre, which provides essential lunch services and activities for ageing and elderly people.

Stoves Community Kitchen

However, the future of the centre isn’t certain and the team at Moorland could use as much of our support as possible to ensure that this vital community asset isn’t taken away from the people of Splott and surrounding areas.

Since October 2011, Dorothy Templeman has run the Moorland Community Centre.  Best-known for its lunch club, Moorland also provides a wide range of physical activities, hobby activities and outings for people who may otherwise be in danger of social isolation and loneliness.

Things started when Moorland Road Day Centre closed and Dot, who was running a voluntary lunch club from East Moors Hall, saw an opportunity for a dedicated centre and put together a business plan to show that there was a need for a lunch club to take place in the area.  There were three other parties interested in taking on the building but Dot and her group were successful and she and her team have been providing essential services to the people of Splott out of the centre ever since.


Tony, Chef extraordinaire!

The lunch menu changes every day and is made by Tony the chef using fresh local produce.  The centre also accommodates vegetarian requirements if told in advance.  For £4, members get a cup of tea or coffee, juice or water with their cooked dinner and a pudding (bargain!).  Perhaps more importantly, members meet other members and have the opportunity to socialise and have fun, which can be as much a necessary life-fuel as food.

The centre uses FareShare, an organisation that prevents waste food going to landfill, to ensure that they get the best-value deal on all of their ingredients (Dot confides that meat makes up a large part of the order as Splottlanders like their meat and two veg!) and Dot can’t compliment Fare Share enough:

“The fact that you know you’re averting that food from going to landfill feels amazing, and some of the stuff we’ve had, you’d never believe!  Smoked salmon, sirloin steak, fillet steak!  Honestly, absolutely out of this world!”

Dot with the Fareshare lads

Dot with the Fareshare lads

The menu is prepared weekly and advertised on their website.  People have to book in advance, but if someone rings up on the day, Dot and her team will do their best to accommodate them.  Wednesdays and Fridays are the most popular days because of the transport on offer.  On other days, people have to make their own way to the centre, which can prove a problem for the less mobile.

The transport is provided by VEST (Voluntary Emergency Services Transport) which is based over by Splott Market.  They also offer a ring-and-ride service to local people with mobility issues and Dot is grateful that this in-demand service can help out twice a week and take people to and from the centre.

Dot would like to see more people in the lower age bracket attend the centre (50 – 65) and fears that the impression in the area is that Moorland Road Community Centre is still a day centre and not the hive of activity that it actually is.

The programme at the centre is interesting and diverse.  The staff and volunteers organise outings for locals; the last trip was to the Cheltenham Food and Drink Festival.  National events are celebrated, like Easter (there was an Easter Bonnet Parade last year) and the Jubilee.  Students from the Welsh College of Music and Drama visit the centre once a year to perform a concert for the members.

Regular activities and events at the centre include a baby clinic, run by Rothwell surgery, where people can take their babies to be weighed and checked, Zumba for the over-fifties in the main hall with Communities First, adult tap dancing, alternative therapies, massage and reflexology, Tai Chi, adult ballet and more.  Bingo on a Wednesday is one of the most popular activities.

“Some of our members suffer from dementia but they are BRILLIANT at bingo,” Dot told Inksplott.  “They never miss a House!”

It’s no wonder bingo is so popular – it transpires that half way through the session, the centre provides tea, coffee and cake for the players!


Wednesday also sees children from Moorland Primary School visit the centre and work in the garden, cultivating tomato plants and herbs (there was a call-out last year for plants to be donated).  The children really enjoy the sessions, which is led by a local volunteer.

“It’s been great!  They’ve come in, put the drainage in the bottom of the pots, put the earth in; they’ve got their hands dirty.  We’re also running a competition for the children to design a menu using the herbs and other ingredients that they’ve grown.  They’ve been really enthusiastic about it.”

Many of the activities are delivered by volunteers, including Dot’s sister, regular volunteers Sandra and Myra, and local residents like Linette Johnson and Ray and Jeanette Edwards.  The centre couldn’t run without the kindness of volunteers, Dot assures me, as the centre often operates seven days a week and funds are extremely tight.  Some of the activities are free, depending on who delivers them, and some cost a few pounds.  Spice Time Credits can be used to pay for some of the activities and outings (http://www.justaddspice.org/).

Moorland Community Centre also benefits from fantastic support from local businesses.

“Splott Market has been incredible,” Dott told Inksplott.  “When we first started here, Clive Jones, who runs the market, was wonderful to us.  I go over every Thursday to get our fruit and veg and there’s always a sack of potatoes for us.  I know it doesn’t sound much but he’s been with us from the start.”

Moorland Community Centre received £1,000 grant from Nisa Local on Carlisle Street (watch this space for an article on this local community-focussed business coming soon), which went towards taking members on outings to Tenby, Barry, Porthcawl.

James Summers & Son funeral directors have also provided transport for members and has covered costs for members to have meals out and stop off for tea and cake as part of an outing and has bought tables for the centre and helped paint a room.

Staff from Tesco Pengam Green have also helped the centre decorate their hall and facilities.  Greggs provided money towards creating a Santa’s Grotto for a Christmas Fayre.

For a full list of supporters, visit the website here

Local MP Steven Doughty is a big supporter of the centre and is a regular visitor, stopping to have lunch with members.  Mr Doughty has also been working with Dot to try and secure the future of Moorland Community Centre in light of recent funding cuts by Cardiff Council. Dot explained:

“Our funding has been cut by £5,000 but, having said that, they (Cardiff Council) has been very good in working with us to look at an asset transfer on the building and we will be getting a lot of assistance from the council.  The people we have worked with in the council have been fantastic.”

“I’m prepared to work with them to keep it here in the community.  We have all these people coming here every day and if they didn’t come here, they wouldn’t have anywhere to go.  They wouldn’t see anybody.”

For many members, the lunch club at Moorland may provide the only hot meal they have a day and it is quite clear how vitally important, nay CRUCIAL, this centre is to helping ageing and elderly people stay active and social in their community and, as a result, stay in their own homes for longer.

Dot is uncertain about the future of Moorland Community Centre if the community asset transfer doesn’t go through and Cardiff Council continues to cut funding.  One way local people can support the centre is to go along, attend the classes and / or attend the lunch club.

“We want people to come here and have their dinners and know that it’s not a day centre, like it used to be, there are much, much younger people coming and loads of activities going on.  We can do more things as well – people just need to come and let us know what they want.”

“It’s vitally important that this centre and provision isn’t going to be lost.  That’s the biggest thing. It would be devastating to many people if this centre was to close.”

The lunch club at Moorland Community Centre is open to anyone over the age of fifty from Splott, Tremorfa and Pengam Green who would like to go along.  The centre welcomes people from outside the defined area if there is no local provision that they can benefit from.  Adamsdown residents can also go to the centre, though St German’s offers a lunch club.

Moorland Community Centre is also available for private hire and has been popular for family activities like communions, christening parties etc.


To find out more about what’s on at the Moorland Community Centre, visit their website here http://moorlandcommunityc.wixsite.com/moorlandcommunity

Follow Moorland Community Centre on Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/moorlandcommunitycentre/?fref=ts

You can find the Moorland Community Centre at

The Moorland Community Centre, Moorland Road, Splott, Cardiff, CF24 2LG

Telephone: 029 2132 8845