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GTFM – Connecting Aberdare – £12,491.60

GTFM pioneered not-for-profit local radio in Wales in 2002 when it started broadcasting to Pontypridd and surrounding parts of RCT on an experimental basis, following short trails in Rhydyfelin in 1999 and 2000 – before becoming the first Community Radio licensee in Wales in 2005. GTFM is a registered charity and its presenters are volunteers operating to professional standards, producing an engaging mix of local news, information and music which has already made it the ‘number 1’ listening choice of many residents in parts of RCT already able to hear it, according to independent research.
And while listeners in other places can now hear GTFM via ‘smart speakers’ and the internet, telecoms regulator Ofcom recently granted permission for the station to build ‘relay’ transmitters to fill-in reception black spots in the County Borough caused by the hilly local terrain. At that point GTFM contacted Pen y Cymoedd who agreed to fund the construction of two new transmitters in the Aberdare area, to allow local residents to more fully engage with the community-focussed activities the station promotes.
In extending its coverage to Aberdare and the Cynon Valley GTFM will:
-Provide trustworthy coverage of local, RCT and Welsh interest news stories in addition to world and UK headlines, plus sport, travel news and what’s on information;
-Offer free publicity to local charitable and not-for-profit organisations, allowing them to promote what they do and the events they organise;
-Give local businesses a new and affordable advertising medium designed to connect local enterprises with potential local customers;
-Promote volunteering in the community and offer its own opportunities to local residents;
-Actively promote the learning and use of the Welsh language in the Aberdare area;
-Provide strong support for its broadcasts through its active social media and website outlets.
“Thanks to Pen y Cymoedd funding, the transmitters which will provide this new service are already under construction and expected to start test transmissions soon on 100.2 & 107.1Mhz FM, with a view to becoming fully operational by the early summer. “ Terry Mann Station Manager

IronWorX – IronWorX Gym – £75,000 (as a mixture of loan and grant)

The IronWorX Gym will offer a first-class fitness facility with specially designed space, equipment and knowledge. It will promote health, fitness and ultimately well-being within the community for all ages. It will also provide a hub for clubs (existing and new such as running, walking, cycling clubs) to meet and store equipment even if they are not members.  
Morgan is a personal trainer, teacher and Mr Ffit, a character he created where individuals can learn the basics of the Welsh language whilst having fun keeping fit. Already offering personal training in and around Hirwaun, along with the very successful Brocks Bootcamp, launched early 2020, IronWorX will build upon this success of offering enthusiastic and knowledgeable fitness to people within Hirwaun, but also from further afield.

The layout of the gym will be designed with accessibility at the forefront to allow older and disabled users to navigate the facilities with ease. The IronWorX Gym will be situated in the village of Hirwaun, and will recruit and employ two members of staff within the first year of trading, along with supporting existing fitness instructors to offer their sessions locally on a freelance basis. They will link with the local schools (allowing them to use the space for PE sessions or for coaches to visit the school) and the local sports teams.
“I am very grateful to the Pen Y Cymoedd Vision Fund and its team for supporting my vision of creating a fitness facility in the village of Hirwaun. I believe this type of facility is long overdue in the village and will make a huge difference to the lives of the residents of Hirwaun and its surrounding areas, as well as having a positive impact on the village itself. 
Members of the gym will become part of a ‘fitness family’ within the community and it will act as a hub for health, fitness and well-being. The grant will allow the IronworX Gym to educate, motivate and inspire individuals to improve health, fitness and overall well-being. This will be achieved by providing its members with a variety of the latest fitness and health techniques, classes and equipment. 
I am very passionate about health and fitness and helping others improve themselves. In a time where Health and Well-being is paramount in our lives, the fund will help the impact of the project go further than just exercise alone. 
Without the the support of Pen Y Cymoedd and the Vision Fund this project would not have been able to be achieved. Thank you.” – Morgan, IronWorX

Our Aberdare Business Improvement District – £25,000

Business Improvement District established in 2020. BIDs are proving they have much to offer on many levels during what has been a difficult year for high streets: Insight and expertise from effective engagement with many more business interests than has been the case thus far / new resources for investment from the BID levy itself, and from the efficient use of this funding through levering in matching sums from elsewhere / a better basis for collaboration – between the different sectors on operational and strategic issues.

The BID Manager and Board of trustees have consulted with businesses to assess impact of COVID and now have a detailed 18-month delivery plan but they also have ambitious plans for the remainder of the 5-year project that includes installing EV charging points, creating an Aberdare ‘enterprise hub’, establishing a ‘green’ focussed subgroup to help steer a more environmentally conscious/active collective of business owners.

With an initial focus on improving the look and feel of town centre, they hope this will help community spirit, engage businesses with BID by demonstrating impact immediately and help the town look and feel ready for summer as lockdown lifts. They will tackle empty shops with vinyl wraps and window coverings and make town more attractive to potential new tenants.
“Pen y Cymoedd always encourage community planning, to agree actions for sustainable improvements. Our Aberdare have really listened to their members and are passionate about helping businesses and the economy flourish in Aberdare. With plans to improve the look and feel of the area, they hope to reduce empty shops, whilst attracting businesses onto the highstreet. Their plans fit perfectly with the Pen y Cymoedd vision to support well kept and attractive high streets, providing a great environment for local development and we are really excited to see their plans grow further”- Michelle Enterprise Support Officer PyC
“Our Aberdare BID has a unique opportunity through Pen y Cymoedd to make the improvements in Aberdare, enabling the town to grow and flourish to the best it deserves. We are happy to be joining other beneficiaries of this community investment organisation; St Elvan’s church, Cynon Valley Museum and Age Connects Morgannwg’s Cynon Linc, and this in turn will promote real growth in Aberdare businesses to the benefit of all.”- the Board at Our Aberdare BID

Trecynon Free Library and Institute – Keeping the Hall Dry – £64,680

Known locally as Trecynon Hall (the Hall) and managed by volunteer Trustees, the building is a well-known landmark in Trecynon serving the local and intermediate communities in a variety of ways since 1902. Today’s management structure was born from the work of a few committed community members and comprehensive local consultation which resulted in a programme of repair and a new business model, the Hall then showed a very promising future.

More than a building, it has functioned successfully to provide a home for the arts and a venue for community activities and rooms to rent for business to supporting the local economy and employment. The Hall is now used regularly by around 2,000 people each month, providing community/voluntary groups and small commercial business with affordable room hire. The Hall’s main room on the first floor is let for a variety of local interests that includes use by a local church, a Yoga school, Colstars Theatre group, Tai Chi, Bingo Club, social evenings involving local artists and cabaret and, meetings for other charities and organisations.

The three rooms on the ground floor are rented out to Llwydcoed Brass Band, a Tattoo Artist and to a local food outlet for storage. This brings in valuable regular income. In addition, the Hall is used regularly for the meetings of e.g. the Independent Arbitration Service, Industry and Communities Alliance and PACT (Police and Communities Together).

They applied to the fund because when renovation work was carried out, two external walls were not included in the contract as they appeared to be relatively sound at that time. However, they are now in need of weatherproofing to preserve the fabric of the building, prevent mould, wet rot and dry rot and remove conditions for an unhealthy internal environment. Renewing the render is essential for the health of the building and its occupants. The aim is to make the Hall safe and fit-for-purpose for years to come. With match funding, a clear proposal and a determination to make building suitable to continue serving the community, Pen y Cymoedd were proud to support this proposal.
‘In these troubling times we find ourselves in, it is reassuring that for over 120 years, Trecynon Hall continues to stand strong and secure in serving the community’. Rob Secretary, Trecynon Free Library & Institute.
Why PyC supported: we want to see community spaces that alIgn with community needs and fit for purpose buildings and spaces.