How the cost of living crisis is impacting one Welsh community - and how it's protecting its own

Penrhiwceibr is a proud place.

On the day we visit the village there's a clear sense things are happening: the clock tower is having something of a makeover and the outline of a new swimming pool is coming together.

The ongoing cost of living crisis won't spare many - if any - communities in Wales, and talk to some of the people of Penrhiwceibr and it's clear they're feeling its unwelcome impacts.

Dianne, a volunteer at the Penrhiwceiber Old Age Centre, has said she's seen a growing need for support in the local community

"We know there's a need, and we know things are going to get worse," Dianne says as we speak to her outside a community event at the Penrhiwceiber Old Age Centre.

Members of the community are painting wooden bird boxes when we visit, sprucing up little delicately crafted homes for our feathered friends. Events like these, Dianne says, have proven important in recent times.

"This is very important because since Covid we've seen people who are only now coming out of their homes. It's made a huge difference, we've got people joining in who've been isolated for a very long time," she explains.

Trish says it's impossible not to notice price rises

Talking to Trish, who has lived in the area for seven years, there was a notable sense of pride in her local community and how it looks after its own.

"It's lovely, it's a really good community," Trish says of Penrhiwceibr.

Bills are rising and Trish is noticing it.

She said: "I've received my estimated gas and electric bill now, it's gone up by a scary amount. Combined it's close to £2,000, which is a lot.

"You can cut back and cut back, but it's just not that easy."

Chip shop owner Vijay says these are challenging times for small business owners

Vijay has run the Clock Fish Bar chip shop for 14 years.

He'll be familiar with the occasional quiet spell but now, he says, there's a distinct sense of quietness in the village. Something, he thinks, is connected to the rising cost of living.

"I can say in the last sort of couple of months we've seen the village go very quiet," he says.

"Maybe cars are passing but there's not many people walking about."

Naomi says it's the rising price of basic essentials, things like milk and bread, that she's noticing

Along with the rising cost of energy - an issue that grew even larger last Friday - the cost of food is rising as inflation continues to climb. Events in Ukraine aren't helping either.

For some people it's the price of the basic essentials, such as milk or bread, that highlight the nature of these challenging economic times.

We spoke to Naomi, a member of the local community who was clearly enjoying herself as she varnished one of her wooden bird boxes. For her, the rising cost of food is impossible to ignore.

"When I went to the shop just recently it was £1.50 for milk and I was shocked.

"I was thinking maybe it will have gone up by five pence or ten pence, but 50p is quite a lot."

Hardware store owner Paul Jones says it's impossible not to put up his prices

For hardware store owner Paul Jones it's the rising cost of fuel that kicks off something of a domino effect.

When fuel goes up, Paul says, the price of every item in the hardware store follows.

"Very difficult times at the moment because everything you're buying, once your fuel goes up every single thing and item in the shop goes up.

"I've got to push the prices up because it's the fuel and it pushes everything up. We're fortunate enough that we have massive support from our local customers.

"There's a lot of people, a lot of customers, a lot of friends we know: they live week by week.

"So when you've got these increases in bills, and there's only so much money anybody's got, so it's very very difficult times. It's going to be a very difficult year. A very difficult year."

An ominous prediction. But that sense of community spirit, support and togetherness is very much alive in Penrhiwceibr. And as the cost of living crisis continues, they're going to need it.