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College recognised for work with Young Carers

Coleg Y Cymoedd has been recognised by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council for its work to improve identification, recognition and support available to Young and Young Adult Carers.

Coleg Y Cymoedd has been successful in obtaining both the Bronze and Silver Level of the Rhondda Cynon Taf Young Carers College Award, which has been gained across all 4 of their campuses. Each level consists of a set of standards, which progressively increase the support and guidance the young people are offered in College.

The Rhondda Cynon Taf Young Carers College Award is facilitated and managed by RCT Carers Project, which provides support and advice to individuals living in Rhondda Cynon Taf who care for others.

Young Carers are children and young people who care for someone because they are ill, disabled, are elderly, are affected by mental health issues or are experiencing substance misuse problems. Young Carers can also be young people taking on a significant responsibility for helping care for a sibling.

The responsibility a Young Carer takes on can lead to immense stresses and strains within their lives, with their roles and responsibilities going beyond what is expected of the average child or young person, and also beyond what is considered ‘helping out’.

Councillor Christina Leyshon, Cabinet Member for Adult and Children’s Services said “I am extremely pleased that Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has been able to recognise the work that Coleg Y Cymoedd has made over the last 12 months to improve identification, recognition and support available to Young and Young Adult Carers.

“Young Carers in Rhondda Cynon Taf often provide essential care to the ones they love the most, which takes an incredible amount of dedication and commitment. However, this can also impact on them socially, academically and emotionally. It’s critical that organisations are working together to identify Young Carers at the earliest opportunity to provide them with the support they need to continue with their studies, reduce isolation, and offer an opportunity for respite.

“The Rhondda Cynon Taf College Award was developed several years ago following the success of RCT Schools Award, which has helped schools across our County Borough to identify and support Young Carers as early as possible.

“The Council runs a Carers Support Project that is committed to supporting Carers across RCT, helping to reduce the isolation, and assisting them get access to services they need to help support the person they care for.

“I would like to thank everyone at Coleg Y Cymoedd for the work they have put into achieving the Bronze and Silver Awards this year, and I am sure they will continue their hard work to achieve the Gold award in the future.”

The Rhondda Cynon Taf College Award presentation coincides with National Young Carers Awareness Day, which aims to raise awareness of the challenges faced by Young Carers and campaigns for greater support for them. This years ‘Count Me In!’ campaign, sees the Carers Trust call on compulsory education providers to be more proactive in identifying Young Carers and ensure that they receive the recognition and support they deserve.


Leisure for Life at Llys Cadwyn

A new 80-station gym featuring the latest fitness technology in the leisure industry will open in Pontypridd in the coming months.

Leisure for Life will soon be opening its 10th centre in 3 Llys Cadwyn - the Council-retained gateway building that will also house the new library for Pontypridd – part of the wider Llys Cadwyn development in the heart of the town centre. The new leisure facility will offer a gym, spin studio and class studio with a second-to-none standard of equipment and fully-trained staff to help you on your fitness journey. It will be fitted out with the latest Technogym equipment, including cross trainers, Skill Mill, Skill Row, exercise bikes, free weights and an Omnia rig for individual and group workouts.

The gym will also include connected Watt Bikes, which means you can train on your own or in a group, competing against each other and comparing performance and results. The unique technology means you can enjoy virtual rides and races from across the world through virtual videos. There will also be a fitness studio and accompanying class programme, which is likely to include a great selection from the 300 plus classes offered across Leisure for Life membership, such as Yoga, Pilates, and kettlebells.

The centre will have a 30-bike spin studio which, again, allows you to work alone or as a class. The huge virtual screen in the room means you can complete some of the best and most exhilarating rides – from the Tour de France route to a journey through Monument Park in America - without leaving Pontypridd!

All of the equipment will be of the same exceptional Technogym standard enjoyed by Leisure for Life members at other gyms and is connected with Unity screens that allow you to monitor and assess your performance, pick up tips and get guidance on your fitness journey.

It is this same technology that allows you to enjoy social media, music streaming and live television while you work out and offers virtual videos so you can choose to jog through a summer’s meadow or follow a particular training route you have.

Councillor Ann Crimmings, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Leisure and Heritage Services, said:

“The new Leisure for Life facilities at Llys Cadwyn are set to be the latest to be delivered by the Council, building on the significant investment that has already seen all of our existing leisure centres benefit from improvements over recent years – including the recent complete refurbishments at the Michael Sobell Centre and the Rhondda Fach Leisure Centre.

“We recognised that there was a gap in our leisure provision in the Pontypridd area, and this new development will certainly be an exceptional opportunity for those who live and work in the town and also for those who will be based in the new buildings when they are completed. This development also complements the existing leisure activities provided in Ynysangharad War Memorial Park, including the National Lido of Wales, Lido Ponty.

“This gym has an incredible range of equipment that is of the highest standards and uses some really interesting technology to inspire your fitness journey.

“The spin studio and class studio also means that you can work out as part of a group and enjoy some of the great range of classes which are offered as part of Leisure for Life membership.

“Plus you will have the ongoing support and expertise of our friendly and knowledgeable gym staff, who are on hand to ensure you get the best out of your health and wellbeing journey.”

There will be NO joining or induction fees for those taking out Leisure for Life membership – which can be used for unlimited gym, swim, fitness classes, indoor sports and health suite access across ALL centres. Non Leisure for Life members who want to experience the exceptional standards can do so with their first session free of charge.

Details on opening dates and offers to follow.


Treorchy wins BIG!

Treorchy has won both Welsh Champion High Street and overall High Street of the Year in the UK at the Great British High Street Awards 2019.

The Great British High Street Awards recognise the UK’s best high streets that have exceptionally strong local communities, and who are leading the way to the high streets of the future.

Treorchy is well known for its bustling High Street, and with an overwhelming number of independent traders and boutique shops it has bucked the UK trend.

Councillor Robert Bevan, Cabinet Member for Enterprise, Development & Housing said: “Treorchy is a perfect example of how a community, businesses and the public sector can work together to achieve positive outcomes.

“I would like to congratulate the Treorchy Chamber of Trade, local businesses and the community, who have all contributed to the success of Treorchy as a thriving town, with continuing opportunities and optimism for the future.

“The people of Treorchy have worked extremely hard to support their town centre, and traders have continued to react to the needs of the community by creating new ventures whilst continuing to evolve existing businesses.

“The Council has been proud to support and partner with the community of Treorchy, such as through the introduction of the Town Centre Maintenance Grant, which allows businesses and landlords to undertake maintenance works to improve the building fronts of town centre properties, and which has benefitted many Treorchy traders.

“The Council, in partnership with the town, also organises an annual Christmas event in Treorchy, which includes a large parade and fair rides, helping to increase the number of visitors to our town centres, and allowing them to see what’s on offer in the town and, of course, grab some festive bargains or celebrate with a meal or drink in a local café or bar.

“Further to this, the Council will be introducing free pubilc wi-fi in Treorchy town centre this year, helping people stay connected when out and about, while also looking at ways to reduce the burden of Business Rates on local businesses.

“RCT Council looks forward to continue to work with the traders in Treorchy over the coming year, and continuing to support the town centre to thrive, and once again congratulates the community on winning not just the award for the Best High Street in Wales, but also the Best High Street in the UK!”

As well as support to businesses, the Council assists in supporting events and initiatives in Treorchy. The Council helps to support and part fund the increasingly successful Rhondda Arts Festival (RAFT), a month long event of entertainment, music and performing arts, which attracts thousands of visitors to the area.

Developing tourism and economic growth in the area are key priorities for the Council, which have been given a major boost by Zip World, which aims to utilise land at the nearby Rhigos Mountain and the former colliery site, near Rhigos Road in Hirwaun, to create three zip wire courses and visitor experience.

Further tourism developments include ongoing plans to reopen the Rhondda Tunnel as a tourism route from Blaencwm to Blaengwynfi, Neath Port Talbot, providing the longest cycle tunnel in Europe and the second longest in the world.


The plans for the former Penygraig County Junior School were approved RCT's planning committee

Nearly 30 houses will be built on a former Rhondda primary school site after councillors gave plans their backing.

Plans for 27 social housing homes will be built on the former Penygraig Primary School on Hendrecafn Road after RCT’s planning committee approved the plans on Thursday, December 5.

Trivallis has submitted the plans which will see the old Penygraig County Junior School building, which is located between Penygraig and Tonypandy, demolished.

The plan is to create 14 one-bedroom flats, eight two-bedroom houses, three three-bedroom houses, one two-bedroom adapted bungalow; and one three-bedroom adapted bungalow.

But there was one objection from a neighbour who told the committee she didn’t object to the whole scheme but to certain aspects of it.

Her main concerns were over the height of the buildings near her house and privacy and overshadowing issues that could cause.

Councillor Dan Owen-Jones, speaking on behalf of the local councillors who couldn’t attend, raised their concerns over the size of the development and asked the developer to review it.

Councillor Doug Williams suggested they switch some of the buildings around to deal with the overlooking issue but the highways officer said this could have an impact on parking.

Councillor Richard Yeo said: “You can’t just move buildings around willy nilly.”

The planning officer said they could only consider the current application as it stands or they could defer it and speak to the developer about making changes.

But Councillor Gareth Caple said: “it’s a beneficial use of a former school site.”

Councillor Jill Bonetto said it’s more sympathetic than a particular development in her ward.


Works to create new parking provision in Porth Town Centre

During early January 2020, the Council will undertake work to convert an area of unused land in Porth into a 29-space car park – in the next stage of the town’s Park and Ride investment.

The scheme was granted planning permission by the Council’s Planning and Development Committee in June 2019. The land is currently owned by the Council and unallocated, located to the south west of Rheola Road and opposite the Rheola Public House. It was most recently used as a compound for Welsh Water, but no buildings have occupied the site since the 1980s.

The upcoming works will include providing a new vehicular access to the site, along with surfacing and drainage works. The provision of boundary fencing, street lighting and CCTV will also be included in the scheme – along with ducting being laid so EV charging points can be provided in the future.

The #RCTinvest scheme will begin in the week commencing Monday, January 6, 2020 – subject to confirmation by the Council in the New Year. Works are expected to take approximately three months to complete.

The scheme will install 29 new parking spaces to extend the current Park and Ride and parking provision in Porth – providing a welcome expansion to the over-subscribed parking facilities serving the town and railway station.

Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Cabinet Member with responsibility for Highways, said: “I’m pleased this scheme will start in the New Year, to bring into use unallocated land and provide 29 new parking spaces for Porth, as an extension of the Porth Park and Ride Scheme. Delivered in 2016, the Park and Ride provides 73 parking spaces, and has proven very popular over the past three years.

“Improving our infrastructure to help people access public transport is a priority for the Council – to reduce journey times and traffic congestion, and help the environment. With the South Wales Metro being delivered by 2023, Park and Ride schemes like the one in Porth are even more important in order to complement the imminent improvement to the valleys rail lines.

“These are very exciting times for the wider Porth area, with the Porth Regeneration Strategy agreed by Cabinet earlier this year. This will introduce a Transport Hub and Station Quarter at the heart of the town, to revitalise public transport at this major gateway to the Rhondda Fach and Fawr – helping to provide connectivity throughout the wider region.

"The upcoming Porth Park and Ride extension off Rheola Road will be completed during mid-2020, to provide additional parking to serve the Town Centre and Railway Station – which I’m sure will be welcomed locally.”


Pontrhondda bridge to reopen during the New Year

The Council has announced the ongoing Pontrhondda bridge replacement in Llwynypia has regrettably been delayed by a few weeks over the Christmas period, due to the poor recent weather.

The bridge structure supports a section of Sherwood Street and spans the River Rhondda Fawr – and due to its very poor condition, a weight restriction was imposed as an essential safety measure. Funding was agreed by Cabinet Members for the replacement of the bridge structure during October 2017.

The bridge section of Sherwood Street was closed from the start of the scheme in May 2018, when a temporary pedestrian footbridge was installed.

The scheme was extended due to unforeseen circumstances in March 2019, when the Council’s original contractor entered administration. Following very complex discussions with previous tenderers for the scheme, the Council appointed Knights Brown in May 2019 to resume the works from early June.

Due to recent poor weather, the Council has announced the bridge will remain closed over Christmas. Contractors will resume work in the New Year, and the bridge will reopen to the public in January 2020, subject to weather. The completed scheme will include site demobilisation and removal of the temporary footbridge.

The Council would like to thank local residents for their continued cooperation and patience, while the Council works to complete this important scheme.

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