Pen y Cymoedd Investments

Afan Lodge

Background:

In 2019, Pen y Cymoedd Wind Farm Community Fund CIC (PyC CIC) was approached and worked with the owners and others to ensure Afan Lodge’s continued contribution to the prosperity of the Afan valley and wider communities. It is now a wholly-owned subsidiary business of PyC CIC which is managed and run on PYC CIC’s behalf by local staff – unleashing its potential to expand its offering in a variety of ways. PyC CIC has done this as part of its remit and mission to help stimulate and regenerate economic activity throughout the Fund’s area of benefit.

This investment reflects the value PyC CIC places upon the need to secure quality visitor accommodation in the Afan Valley as a cornerstone of further economic development in the area.

What has happened in the last 12 months?

After an exciting period of getting the Lodge ready for its re-launch with a light refurbishment and under new management, we opened on March 13th, 2020 only to be forced to close a week later by the Covid pandemic.

The Lodge has been closed for much of the time since we invested due to the pandemic. The appointed Afan Lodge Directors have worked tirelessly to ensure the business survived the effects of a pandemic that had such a devastating impact on the hospitality industry, and we/they continue to work to make Afan Lodge a success the enforced the closure of the hotel for most of 2020 and into 2021has made it a tough time. August saw the Lodge open again but with fewer visitors than usual due to further limitations and understandably, increased public caution. Winter of 2020 was due to be the busiest period, but further lockdowns and restrictions hampered this again. The decision was taken to close the lodge, temporarily, to safeguard it for the future amidst the likelihood of still further Covid restrictions.

Unlike many other businesses within the industry, we not only survived but also, with the help of government schemes, retained our staff and continued to support them throughout the pandemic so that we would be able to reopen stronger and better.

What’s next?

The Board and staff team are now looking ahead to the rest of 2021 with vigor. Now open again as a hotel, with a focus on the local community and providing hospitality for all, while continuing to welcome a wide range of overnight guests.

The Lodge offers 17 en-suite bedrooms, including two family rooms, most with wonderful mountain views. To complement these there is a 40-seater restaurant (presently restricted to 22) a dog-friendly bar and an outside terrace where Breakfasts, lunches, gorgeous afternoon teas, and a variety of evening meals are served, 7 days a week.

The location of the lodge in the spectacular Afan valley makes it the ideal escape to walk, ride or even run the local waymarked trails and sample other hospitality in the area. Further afield the Beaches of Aberavon or Swansea are each within half hours’ drive and the newly open Zip World at Hirwaun is 45 mins drive through wonderful mountain scenery.

Meet the Team

Directors: PyC appointed 3 Directors, Dave Henderson, Victoria Bond and Mair Gwynant. It was always the intention to recruit additional, external Board members to Afan Lodge to bring in expertise and local knowledge to support the mainly local staff. However, the timing of this investment and the subsequent global pandemic means that it would have been very difficult to appoint new Directors during the lockdown period, when the hotel was closed and concentrating on survival, due to government restrictions.

If you are interested in becoming a Director, please get in touch.

Lloyd, General Manager at Afan Lodge:

Lloyd joined the staff team in August 2020. Previously he was working at the Conrah Country House Hotel in Aberystwyth helping manage the 17-bedroom establishment. Set in 18 acres the hotel had an on-site bar, restaurant and function venue, very popular for weddings.

“After a hard year for the hospitality industry I felt safe working for a community funded enterprise, I also truly support the ethos of PyC and was excited to join the team at an exciting time for the fund’s investment at Afan Lodge. As the news has shown it has been a very hard 12 months for the industry in general, luckily, we have managed to maintain all our staff during the furlough period with a few exceptions, those of which decided to leave the industry. I think I speak for all the staff when I say we are so happy the Lodge is back open again, welcoming many a familiar face and many new visitors to the Afan valley. As with every hospitality establishment the future is uncertain and needs to adapt and move with new challenges and opportunities. Here at the Lodge, we are excited for the continued development of the business enabling myself and the team to provide the local community with a relaxed and comfortable space to enjoy as well as welcoming back the many tourists who have visited the Lodge over the years. No doubt there will be challenges ahead but we are excited to get back to doing what we do well and have lots planned to improve this asset for the community and the area, watch this space.”- Lloyd

Have your say

To make this community asset the vibrant success we all want it to be, we need support, ideas and engagement from you all in the local community. We did start our conversations with you in the community via a questionnaire which we want to build upon, as restrictions and operations at The Lodge settle down and allow us time.

We invite you to help us along with the next phase of our journey by sharing your views and visiting the Lodge for Sunday lunch, evening meals or coffee and cake sometime soon.

stay@afanlodge.wales / 01639 852500 / Afan Lodge, Afan Road, Duffryn Rhondda, SA13 3ES