Bryncyon Strategy

Contact:Alun Taylor
Address: 2 Commercial Place, Matthewstown, Mountain Ash, CF45 4YR TypeFull Members
Email:bryncynon@hotmail.com Web:www.bryncynonstrategy.org.uk
Tel:01443 475 120   
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Description & History

The Strategy `grew out of the Local Residents’ Association, who wanted to combat the difficulties caused by the loss of the coal mining industry. A series of grants enabled the appointment of the first community development worker in 1993 and in 1994 the refurbishment of 3 terraced houses to accommodate a training facility, offices, community café and youth drop-in centre, followed by refurbishment and extension of the health centre.

The trust takes a holistic approach to community development which includes lifelong learning, healthy living, building community spirit, developing the local economy and improving the local environment. Currently employs 25 people (mainly local) and about 30 volunteers. Recently, work has focused on the Healthy Living Agenda and supporting children, young people and families.

The Strategy, a community based development trust, also runs two other buildings, a youth drop-in project, after school clubs, the ‘Growing Together’ family centre (focusing on under-5s and their parents), a state of the art ‘Digilab’, a Timebank network, Build-IT (for construction skills), music and drama project, a ‘Green Team‘, a range of environmental projects, education and play programmes and a community transport

Location and Area of Benefit

Bryncynon is situated in the Abercynon Ward in the Lower Cynon Valley and takes in the area of Ynysboeth, Matthewstown and Bryntirion. The population of the area is 2,500 households.

Main services, Enterprises and Activities

* Growing Together Family Centre - including after-school and school holiday play schemes, parent and toddler group, evening drop in programme for young people, alternative curriculum project with local school, literacy and numeracy, IT and personal interest courses for adults.
* Nibbles Café - community café in the strategy building, also offering buffet service.

* "The Feel Good Factory" - Healthy Living Centre, various courses (fitness, smoking cessation, first aid, etc) and healthy living advice as well as training and careers guidance.

* Life Support Project - aims to pilot a programme for personal development, training and support for young adults to help them go from unemployment or unskilled work to jobs in healthcare.
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* The People and Work Unit - training in skilled trades and opportunities to develop confidence and self respect - customised to the needs of disadvantaged young people (working in partnership with, among others, Penywaun Enterprise Partnership, another member of DTA Wales).

* BUILD IT project runs in partnership with housing associations who buy old properties in poor repair and then The Strategy recruits apprentices and team leaders in the area.

Emerging & Proposed Future Developments

The trust acquired, refurbished and transformed the All Saints Church into a state of the art community asset and base for community enterprises called ‘The Feel Good Factory’, which was launched by The First Minister in October 2006. The conversion has created a large, high quality, multi-purpose building offering access to a wide range of activities, enterprises and services linked to health, community services and well-being.

The ‘Feel Good Factory’ provides a venue for health education and promotion, clinics, exercise and dance and healthy cooking classes. As part of its income generating strategy, a wide range of high quality conference, meeting and events rooms are available for hire.

The Centre is also a base for the Nibbles Café, a Credit Union and a local food co-operative aiming to provide healthy, affordable food to local communities.

An innovative aspect is that the trust now owns and manages the building, but the church congregation can still access the refurbished facility for regular services as well as improved facilities for weddings, funerals and christenings.