It was great to recently attend the official opening of the new Canolfan Pennar Community Hub in Mountain Ash town centre, where we were able to welcome Roy Noble OBE as one of our speakers.  I think it’s fair to say that Canolfan Pennar has been extremely popular amongst the local community since it opened on Monday, 3rd June and it was fantastic to see so many joining us for the official opening event. 

Over the next few years, we will be extending our programme of community hubs, with at least 10 facilities to be delivered across the County Borough, and each of these will provide a variety of services that are tailored to the specific needs of the local community.  We have already delivered the Cynon Linc facility in partnership with Age Connects Morgannwg at the former St. Mair’s Day Centre in Aberdare through an investment of over £1m, and the Ferndale Hwb development will also see the Council working in partnership with a 3rd sector organisation.  The Canolfan Pennar development, however - and the future Hubs at both the Porth Plaza and Llys Cadwyn, once completed - will be run by the Council.

Crucially, Community Hubs seek to bring a number of key services under one roof in central locations that are prominent and well-served by public transport links, and this ensures that we are not only making the most of our resources in this time of austerity, but also guarantees the long-term sustainability of our services.  By situating a number of community-based services in one location, the Hub model can help to tackle the major issues of loneliness and social isolation by promoting community engagement and integration across all generations and backgrounds.

Canolfan Pennar, for example, offers a dedicated computer suite to promote lifelong learning and provides vital opportunities to access employment, whilst it also has two community rooms to accommodate a range of activities, and also now houses Mountain Ash’s library provision. 

At the event, I also unveiled the commemorative panels for Bernard Baldwin MBE and Dr. Elaine Morgan OBE, both of whom have been two of the most influential figures to be associated with Mountain Ash.  Bernard was, of course, the founder of the annual Nos Galan Road Races; whilst Elaine was a pioneering scientist, author and screenwriter, and her commemorative panel is the second of our Hidden Heroines series following on from the board dedicated to Lady Rhondda in Tonypandy Library.  A third board will be also be unveiled in 3 Llys Cadwyn once the development is completed in 2020 and that will be dedicated to Morfydd Owen.

The summer certainly hasn’t followed in last year’s footsteps so far, but with a spell of good weather forecast for the weekend, then why not pay a visit to one of the many attractions across Rhondda Cynon Taf? The award-winning National Lido of Wales, Lido Ponty, is now fully open for the summer season and is always popular, so make sure to book ahead to guarantee you space.

 If you’re looking for something a bit more cultural, then we also have the Welsh Mining Experience at the Rhondda Heritage Park, which gives an authentic insight into the life of a Welsh Miner through the Black Gold Experience and Dram.  For those looking to take advantage of the beautiful scenery and countryside meanwhile, Rhondda Cynon Taf has a wealth of outdoor attractions - from Aberdare Park, where the boats on the Lake are available for hire; to the picturesque Barry Sidings Country Park, there are plenty of beautiful locations to spend your weekend in the sun.

As the 2019 edition of the Rhondda Arts Festival Treorchy (RAFT) draws to a close, this weekend will see two of the main acts performing at the Park and Dare Theatre, with Wicked and Les Miserables star Kerry Ellis performing on Friday the 28th, and top comedian & actor Omid Djalili appearing on Saturday 29th June.

Posted on 28/06/2019