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Leaders help out charity's quest to realise dream

A CHARITY has enlisted the support of two council big guns to help it realise its dream of building a multi- million pound therapy centre at Morriston Hospital.

 

Swansea Council leader Chris Holley and Neath Port Talbot Council chief executive Steve Phillips have agreed to assist Treat Trust Wales update its plans to increase its chances of getting the money for the £5 million first phase.

The charity is led by Melanie Davies, who broke her back in a motorbike accident 30 years ago when she was a 15-year-old schoolgirl in Port Talbot, and her former surgeon husband Mike.

Later in life Melanie had breast cancer and it was while recovering that she came up with the idea for Treat, which aims to offer rehabilitation for people from all walks of life.

Melanie, who now lives with Mike near Pontardawe, said: "We had a meeting with Chris and Steve and it was felt very strongly that Treat will not happen unless we have a robust business case and our feasibility study is updated.

"These were originally done eight years ago, and so much has changed since then — for example, at the time we were looking to build the centre on land in Port Talbot.

"The foundations are there but they need revising, and Chris and Steve offered to assist us in updating them.

"Any help they give will be welcome, because the business case is going to be the key to any funding requests, whether to the Welsh Government, Europe or elsewhere."

Although the cost of the centre has previously been estimated at £10 million, Treat says £18 million is now a more likely figure.

The charity's big-name supporters include the Baglan trio of Michael Sheen, Rob Brydon and Paul Potts.

Melanie said: "We love all our celebrity backers but their endorsements don't add weight to our business case."

She said the trust's first aim was to raise £2.5 million which, with match-funding, would allow it to develop the first phase of the building.

Mr Holley said: "Any charity like Treat Trust Wales, which will help people with disabilities, is well worth supporting.

"It's early days yet but I would like to congratulate ABM for making the land available at Morriston Hospital for the Treat building."

SOURCE: South Wales Evening Post, 24th January 2012

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