On Friday, 15 September, Tonypandy war memorial was cleaned in partnership with volunteers from Valley Veterans. This is first memorial to be cleaned by volunteers as part of a wider programme of work on memorials that will be rolled out in the coming months.
The project aims to bring together members of the community to assist in maintaining the war memorials, ensure they are cared for, and preserve our heritage. The project will see a series of different groups from RCT assisting in the annual maintenance of memorials, with the first group, Valley Veterans, joining us earlier this month. The Council expects to engage further volunteer groups to help with future clean ups. The next one is taking place in Penygraig on Friday, 29 September.
Over the past two years, Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council has worked in collaboration with local community groups, on several memorial projects involving essential maintenance. In 2022, we appointed a Heritage Monuments and Historic Memorials Officer to develop a programme of investment and improvement to RCT’s memorials in line with the War Memorials Trust guidance. To get involved, please email: Heritage.Service@rctcbc.gov.uk
Cllr. Maureen Webber, Deputy Leader of the Cabinet and Armed Forces Champion, said:
“The memorial cleaning project is a fantastic way for the Council to pledge its continued support to preserving our heritage whilst involving the armed forces community themselves. A special thank you to Valleys Veterans for partnering with the Council on this important project.
“It is so important that we continue to make improvements to our war memorials as these are significant monuments that allow us to keep alive the memories of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“I want to extend my thanks to the individuals who joined us on Friday, 15 September, for the reopening of the memorial following this joint cleaning project. I am particularly pleased to say that we were joined by members of our community who have served time in the forces, and projects such as this one is an excellent way to keep them connected with ourselves and with each other.
“Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, a Ministry of Defence Gold Award recipient, has a proud record of valuing the armed forces and it is crucial that those currently serving, veterans and reservists, including their families, are aware of the services we can provide to them.”
Valley Veterans are a veteran-led, community-based volunteer group who provide support to veterans across RCT. They were founded over 16 years ago and are supported by the Council to provide assistance with mental health, PTSD, and other community support.
Paul Bromwell, Chief Executive of Valley Veterans, said:
“One of the aims of Valley Veterans is for our volunteers to participate in community-based activities to improve their mental and physical wellbeing. Preserving veteran heritage is important to our volunteers, and we are delighted to be involved in the cleaning and maintenance of the Tonypandy war memorial. A big thank you to Rhondda Cynon Taf Council staff: Rhiannon Seymour; Jamie Ireland; Councillor Craig Middle; and Darren Macey; and our volunteers: Dave Bell; and Nigel Locke for contributing to this meaningful project.
“Valley Veterans offers a welcoming and safe space for all who have previously served in our armed forces. You can find out more about us, the work we do, and when we meet, by visiting valleyveterans.org or searching for ‘Valley Veterans’ on Facebook.”
For further information about Valley Veterans, contact the group via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 07733 896 128.
The Council’s Veteran Advice Service offers a wide range of support and assistance and has helped over six hundred veterans and family members. They provide free, impartial, and dedicated information, advice and support to members of the armed forces, past and present. To speak to dedicated officers in strict confidence, call 07747 485 619 (Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm), or email: VeteranService@rctcbc.gov.uk
The latest data shows that there are more than 7,500 armed forces veterans living across Rhondda Cynon Taf. Back in 2012, the Council became one of the first local authorities to sign up to the Armed Forces Covenant, a commitment that was reaffirmed in 2018 and which set the mark for the rest of Wales. The covenant is a mutual agreement of understanding between the civilian and armed forces community across the County Borough.
In 2017, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council was presented with the Ministry of Defence’s Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award for our continued support of the armed forces community. This award was retained in October 2022 following an assessment of the Council’s commitments, including the introduction of the Guaranteed Interview Scheme for Veterans and Reservists in January 2022.
Posted on 28/09/2023