Can you tell us about the upcoming exhibition in the YMCA
The project team has been going through the archives left in the YMCA, and we've discovered lots of photos and spent a lot of time digitalising the images to create a huge database of all the key memories and events in the town. My role as the Community and Outreach Development Officer was to go out and find people who have used YMCA in the past, we are delighted that there will be 10 major stories which will be exhibited at the Lido.
The exhibition involves stories from across Pontypridd, are there any that we should be looking out for?
One person we spoke to was part of the boxing club at YMCA, said that boxing helped him discover values and learn discipline, the YMCA wasn't sure originally if contact sport would work, this man's trainer would go to end of the earth once driving all those involved up to Bargoed in a small car to participate in a boxing match. We also spoke in depth with Elizabeth Williams - a former chairperson and another who's uncle was invovled when the boys club was formed, there was also a lady who referred to going to the YMCA in the 1980's - so there was stories from different periods.
We selected four short stories and took them to Coed-Y-Lan Primary School and asked the children to draw pictures of the story, which were then animated using a animation company from Caerphilly, these will be on display at the exhibition. There will be another video from a local filmmaker who will share memories of Pontypridd.
point of view it’s great to see what Pontypridd was like, and now seeing it with new eyes. It's great to see the importance
of the YMCA as it was a key place for people to go – many of the people
met their partners there. Hopefully there will be a lot of interest in the
exhibition. I will be very interested to see what was in there when I was growing up.
It’s exciting to see the new YMCA will be developed after previous uncertainty, people in the town are very hopeful to see what it is going to become.
What are your hopes for the YMCA and Pontypridd for the future?
I personally feel more involved in Pontypridd than I ever have been. Pontypridd could become a very exciting area with the Taff Vale & YMCA developments. It’s really exciting to see new jobs coming to the area. From the arts and YMCA’s view – people will use Pontypridd in the future because it’s in such a strategic location, it would be great to encourage arts venues and societies to work together rather than be competitive and to have cooperation. It's good to see that the Muni is putting a focus as a music venue, and hopefully they will keep getting more and more exciting acts for people to see. It's great to see Pontypridd have many new businesses including the Soul Spice in the Market - it's important that we don't get stuck in the old ways, I'm very hopeful for Pontypridd.
What do you like about Pontypridd, and what would you change?
Pontypridd has a lot of options and a lot to offer, the town centre can be improved – however you’ve got several national stores and all the major banks and there are plenty of pubs. There are areas that could be cleaned and modernised.
It would be good to see businesses be more technologically advanced, by having the option of contactless payment, and it would be very exciting to see an advertising screen in town to help advertise whats going on in the area. The biggest key is communication, the challenge is making sure everyone knows what is going on. The Your Pontypridd BID website could become the key element in making sure people are informed, it’s a wider issue in the county – there’s a lack of a central point where you can access the key information.
The app would be an excellent idea if the BID proceed with the idea in the future. The Lido has become a very key to the attraction in Pontypridd, it’s excellent value for money and the park remains an important part of the town. I would like to see if the theatre above the market could be refurbished, it would be a huge project but it would be excellent to bring it back to the community.
Did you know anything about Business Improvement Districts before Your Pontypridd?
I was not aware of BIDS before Your Pontypridd. The first I heard of it was when I spoke to Terry Chinn from Clwb Y Bont. I think the purpose of BIDS is to help restore towns and cities that may have been affected by a lack of funding, in theory it’s a great idea as it gives the business community a voice, it’s interesting to see what BIDS prioritise in terms of what projects they do. The most important thing is that the arts community can contribute – older views and politics sometimes get in the way of the best ideas. The more stuff that happens, the more people become involved.
What do you think of Your Pontypridd and it’s impact so far?
I believe the parking offer is great. Its refreshing to see somebody else trying to do something in the town, who can do implement different ideas. It would be good if events and promotion could go hand in hand, any way to advertise the Your Pontypridd brand needs to be considered, and be as creative as possible. The BID are key to changing the perception at the University, making Pontypridd a place to visit, hopefully the Student Card will attract students. I would like to see free train travel between Pontypridd and Treforest to encourage students to travel into the town. The fact that the conversations can be had about ideas without interruption is a great thing, and will help restore Pontypridd’s reputation. In general I think it’s positive, as it encourages different ideas and gets many different people involved.
How do you see YMCA and the arts and creative sectors and BID working together in future?
It's great for the YMCA & the arts community to engage to be able to feed into ideas, it’s always good to have local artists performing in events, promotion is very important – the venues linking together would be good. Its key to have quality, but to also consider the local people and groups who could be involved, it’s important to build communication with the BID. The YMCA has a long way to go until the final stages of the development, the BID can play a key role in promoting that and helping them when the YMCA building relaunches.
Many thanks to Alan for speaking with us,
Alan and Rachel run the Avant Theatre Company based in the Rhondda and have several upcoming projects working with RCT Theatres including a live soap opera & hip hop dance project. Avant have also been working on a project in the Museum – gathering stories about life in the Rhondda during World War I.
For more information visit - https://www.avant.cymru/
The Pontypridd YMCA Memories Exhibition will be held at Pontypridd Lido Visitors Centre, between the 16th and 29th of September, between 10am - 4pm! For more information about the YMCA and their refurbishment of their current building visit - https://pontypriddymca.co.uk/ - you can also like them on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/PontyYMCA or follow them on Twitter https://twitter.com/pontyymca
Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford has announced a new small business rate relief scheme is set to be introduced from the 1st of April 2018 in Wales.
The new permanent scheme means that the number of properties eligible for small business rate relief will be limited to properties in each local authority. This is aimed at preventing larger and national chain businesses benefiting from the scheme.
The plan is for relief to be targeted more effectively to help small and local businesses, with £7m every year being reinvested to help small businesses.
The SBBR scheme will also provide
· More support for the childcare sector, increasing the upper threshold for rates relief for childcare providers from £12,000 to £20,500.
· Targeted support for small hydropower projects, in line with the Budget agreement with Plaid Cymru.
· £5m of investment to extend the temporary high street rates relief scheme into 2018-19;
· An extra £1.3m for local authorities for 2018-19, to give them the power to target relief to help local businesses including those who would benefit most from the additional assistance.
Mr Drakeford has also announced an extra £9m and £22m, will be allocated in the final budget in 2018/19 and 2019/20 respectively, with the aim of switching from RPI to CPI for business rates from April next year.
The Finance Secretary also announced today an extra £9m and £22m will be allocated in the final Budget in 2018-19 and 2019-20 respectively, to support the switch from RPI to CPI for business rates from April 2018.
Professor Drakeford has said that the introduction of a permanent small business rates relief scheme next year would “provide certainty and security for small businesses in Wales.” The permanent scheme would see the Welsh Government maintain their level of support for small businesses after £110m of support this year. Mr Drakeford added that “the scheme will target effective support to businesses – helping to create jobs and deliver benefits to the local communities”
Changes to the Small Business Rates Relief scheme are being introduced following a public consultation on a permanent scheme in the autumn.
There are currently four defribillators based in Pontypridd Town Centre based at:
The Patriot Bar
25B Taff Street
Tel No: 01443 407915
Wales Air Ambulance
75 Taff Street
Tel No: 01443 491408
Tel No: 0300 004 0000
South Wales Police
Tel No: 01443 743654
South Wales Police Taff team are currently fundraising to get more defibrillators in the town centre. On Saturday the 16th of December, the SWP Taff team will have a Santa’s grotto in Pontypridd Market which with free entry. Please feel free to talk to the SWP Taff team and make a donation to help raise money to put more defrbillators in the town.
You can donate and help the cause right now by visiting https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/pontypriddnpt - any support would be much appreciated, and don't forget to visit Pontypridd Market on the 16th of December.