At a meeting of the Burry Port History Group, Mr Dominic Conway came to talk about this derilict local building. he called for help to start a group in order to bring this building to public attention.
The inaugural meeting took place in March 2006 in St Illtyd's Church. At that meeting it was revealed that the building had been nominated for inclusion in the BBC programme 'Restoration Villiage'. During the next few weeks it became clear that the programme was going to feature Court Farm - a bit of a clue when the cherry picker arrived to do arial shots!
A very busy six months followed.The programme aired on the Bank Holiday weekend and the Friends held a fun day in Pembrey and the comminuty galvanised into supporting the cause. The Friends also spent time at the National Botanical Gardens of Wales vote catching. However, disapointment was on the horizon as we did not win the Welsh heat.
The Friends were disappointed not to have progressed to the national competition but vowed to maintain its profile.
They have maintained that high profile by hosting and participating in numerous community events in the county, they have also forged and maintained communications with relevant bodies both locally and nationally.
Within the local community the Friends have been continually active, for example local schools participate in the annual Art Competitions, these are always held in local churches and chapels. All local schools are invited to take part and prizes awarded to winners in each age group.
School children are also encouraged via the school curriculum to learn about their local heritage; they have participated in concerts for Court and have acted out their own pageant depicting the history of Court Farm. They relished in the story of Will Manni – who was hung and gibbeted by the Court.
We have also participated in the RAISE PROJECT - a 14 million pound W.A.G. initiative that has run since 2006, "Raising Attainment and Individual Standards in Education". the group made a series of short films about characters who lived at Court over the centuries; for each character, appropriate costumes were made and monologue waswritten , 'volunteers '[!] were filmed in the characters in various locations around the county and a DVD produced for the schools that is available throughout the Welsh Education system.
We visit local establishments and talk to the visitors about Court; all organisations have welcomed us.
To date we have visited :-
The national Botanic Garden of Wales
St Elli Center
Dinefwr park and Newton House
We have also participated in local carnivals and more recently the Llanelli Festival
Local groups are invited for a guided tour of Court Farm followed by home cooked lunch or afternoon tea.
The Friends have participated in the Civic Trust for Wales [European Heritage Days ] Open Doors Scheme, with visitor numbers exceeding what was expected.
The Friends have played an important rol in the aquisition of Court. The Friends have over the past few yars been very vocal about the importance of this building and its significance to the county - and indeed beyond. They have lobbied MP's, Assembly Members, the Historic Buildings Advisory Council for Wales, the Royal Commission for Ancient and Historic Monuments of Wales, Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings , Cadw, Welsh Historic Gardens Trust and more recently the Archietectural Heritage Fund; all this has helped to bring the building to the notice of those persons with the appropriate influence.
It was the Friends who petitioned the Historic Buildings Advisory Council for Wales and Cadw to re-think their decision not to grant aid to Court Farm in Novmber 2009.
They felt very strongly that this decision had been made with insufficient information and they lobbied the group , encouraging them to visit and see for themselves the magnificent building that would be condemned to decline if not restored.
The HBAC visited in January 20100, that same day the then owners transferred the ownership to the Trust. The eminent group that visited were truly amazed and inspired by the building.
They subsequently advised Cadw accordingly and the decision that had been mad previously was reversed and the report recognised Court as a building of outstanding importance. An in principal grant of 40% [ the most that they can give] was awarded.
The Friends are committed to the sensitive restoration if this most important vernacular building and its future.