RCT Together is all about working together to deliver sustainable services and facilities in the future.
There are a number of examples of this approach working in action across Rhondda Cynon Taf already and this page will provide more information on some of these examples:
Friends of Ferndale
Community Hub Maerdy (Former Maerdy Library)
In April 2014, Maerdy Library closed as a result of the public spending cuts imposed on RCT Council. This had a huge impact on the whole community. But, following a year of effective partnership working, working tirelessly to overcome barriers, and building a strong staffing structure, Friends of Ferndale re-opened the facility.
Within the short space of two months, the facility has provided a variety of opportunities for Welsh Language classes, sewing classes, Creative Literacy stage school, and of course, book lending. All of which have been supported through external funding, of which we are eternally grateful.
Without the support from many outside agencies, local community groups and individuals we would not have been in a position to build such strong foundations to develop the facility into a Community Hub that meets the needs of individuals, families and groups of all ages.
To date, we have 34 children and 16 adults who have signed up to the Hub. Hopefully these numbers will increase during our book sale and coffee morning on the 14th November. Please come along if you're in the area!
We hope that the involvement, commitment and support we have received will continue for generations to come, providing a Hub of services, events, training opportunities for present and future residents.
“I was devastated when the library closed as my children practically grew up there. The facility reopening will make a huge difference to my foster children who didn’t even know what a library was. It’s nice to see it all coming back together again.” Nicola Curtis (Maerdy Resident)
“It’s great because I like reading and its lots of fun” Sienna Dutfield Age 9
“I want to learn Welsh and play and read books” Darcie Comey Age 9
“Initially I doubted the sustainability of this facility but the consistent support and community spirit over the last few months have diminished my concerns and I am extremely excited of the potential and value this facility will have on the community as a whole” Nikki Beach (Friends of Ferndale)
The Muni Journey
In the autumn of 2014, the doors of the Muni Arts Centre were closed. It was a difficult decision. Cuts to local authority funding made it necessary to find savings, but the Muni Arts Centre was and still is a much loved venue. It is true that a great number of people made their voices heard in protest once the proposal was put forward, and more came forward to suggest ways forward.
Likeminded people began working together to create a new strategy for a community driven venue for culture and the arts. A successful Expression of Interest was the beginning of the journey for the Muni Working Group.
An Open Consultation Day saw over 150 people come through the doors within a four hour period including children from local schools, parents, artists, business entrepreneurs people who wanted to see The Muni become a venue that is accessible to everyone, to be driven by its community people of every age and from across a range of interests. This strong message stayed with the Muni Working Group, although it was also necessary to make choices to create a focus for a new strategic direction.
Having come together from different organisations, the first task was to formulate shared values and vision, define the terms of reference and set in place the foundation for the incorporation of The Muni Arts Centre Limited. The Directors brought a range of skills and expertise, with representation from Pontypridd Town Council, Cylchg Cymreig, Artis Community and Coalfields Regeneration Trust.
Grants from Pontypridd Town Council and Coalfields Regeneration Trust provided the necessary funds for upfront development costs and to negotiate the legal terms of agreement for lease from RCTCBC.
f there are lessons to be learned, it is remember to continue to look forward while you are investigating the details of the here and now. It takes a lot of work to establish a company that is fit for purpose.
Running a building that is open to the public requires even more energy, time and a wide range of knowledge and expertise. Volunteers are at the heart of making the New Muni operational: developing the artistic programme; managing bookings; training volunteers; cleaning the building; general maintenance; customer service and greeting the public; box office; and of course governance. Partnerships are key to a sustainable future.
The New Muni has a huge and diverse community and it is growing conversations continue with Menter Iaith, University of South Wales, Pontypridd Theatre Company, Cwm Taf Health Board, Positively Ponty, the local authority, the Armed Forces Community, Pontypridd YMCA new stakeholders continue to join.
The cafe Bradleys@ TheMuni welcomes people into the New Muni, and is open Monday to Saturday. We were keen to provide a new offer to Pontypridd one
can meet friends over a coffee and light lunch, have informal meetings, or work from a comfortable sofa, accessing everything you need with free wifi. New people come through the doors every day to offer their time or ideas for a performance or simply to enjoy the atmosphere and be part of the New Muni community.
Some of Maerdy’s youngest residents are settling into their modern, bright and inspirational new Flying Start setting, thanks to a unique partnership between Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and the Friends of Ferndale Community School.
Proudly known as “Little Ferns” the two and three-year-olds are enjoying their brand new Flying Start childcare at Ferndale Community School.
The Welsh Government’s Flying Start capital investment of £70,000 has enabled the refurbishment of the accommodation now used by Little Ferns, with plans to create an outdoor play space later this year.
The Little Ferns and their parents enjoyed their first morning in the new setting this week and were met by local ward member Cllr Keiron Montague, Cabinet Member for Service Delivery, Communities and Housing, who has worked with the Friends of Ferndale Community School to make the new arrangements happen.
He met with Flying Start Senior Childcare Manager Mandy Perry, Trustee Bryn Jones, Business Manager Michelle Coburn-Hughes and Setting Manager Laurie Parfitt during the opening week.
Maerdy Flying Start previously operated from Maerdy Community Centre and has done so since the scheme was introduced in 2006-7.
When arrangements came to an end with its previous childcare provider, Friends of Ferndale Community School won the tender to deliver the important Flying Start childcare provision.
Abercynon Paddling Pool
Residents in the Cynon Valley can once again enjoy a paddle and a swim in Abercynon War Memorial Pool thanks to the hard work and dedication of the local community.
It is the latest community asset to benefit from the Council’s RCT Together approach, which aims to empower and support community groups and organisations to take over the running of services and facilities the Council can no longer sustain.
Cllr Keiron Montague, Deputy Leader of the Council, and Cabinet Member with responsibility for RCT Together, said: “Our RCT Together approach is starting to gather momentum to support and maintain services which have been hit by austerity and the funding cuts imposed upon us as a Council as a consequence.
“Residents from across the County Borough are taking a lead to sustain facilities under community ownership.
“The impact of austerity on Council budgets across Wales has been well documented and it is unfortunately inevitable that further tough decisions will need to be made in respect of the future of Council run services and facilities.
“However, the early evidence of the RCT Together approach indicate that such services and facilities can still have a sustainable future when the community, the Council and its partners work together to explore and progress community ownership opportunities.
“Abercynon War Memorial Pool is a great example of this as I know a great deal of hard work has been put in by local residents and local Councillors, in partnership with the Council corporately and Interlink, to get to the position of being able to re-open the facility, and great credit goes to all those involved.”
Cllr Rhys Lewis, Deputy Mayor of Rhondda Cynon Taf and Local Ward Member for Abercynon, said: “The opening ceremony marks the culmination of over a year’s worth of planning and hard work.
“The most inspiring thing about this project is that it has brought the community together, reigniting a sense of community spirit and activism.
“In these times of public sector cuts, it is unfortunately clear that the sustainability of other Council-owned community assets will come under threat.
“However, if what I have witnessed over the previous year is anything to go by, with dedicated and passionate local people involved, community assets and facilities that the Council may no longer be able to sustain can have a positive future.”
Cllr Alby Davies MBE, Ward Member for Abercynon, said: “The re-opening of the paddling pool is an important occasion for so many reasons, especially considering the pool’s war memorial status.
“The value the community places on the facility has been demonstrated by the number of local residents keen to get involved and lend a hand in bringing it back into use.
“I applaud all those who have done worked so hard to see the paddling pool reopened.”
Abercynon War Memorial Pool was officially rededicated and reopened on August 1, 2015, and will be open throughout August.
Help us improve - don't include personal or financial information, e.g. your National Insurance number or credit card details.
Please provide a reason and any suggestions you feel are necessary in helping us improve the web page.