Wednesday, September 23, 2020

September update

Oh Dear! Just as we write this article we are reflecting on the news that a spike in the cases of Coronavirus has caused a local lockdown in Pontyclun and the whole of RCT.

 

Our plans for the return of social groups in Café 50 have been suspended and once again we need to consider how we provide our range of council services.

 

Our hearts go out to all the families and businesses which will be affected.

 

We ask that everyone complies with the restrictions that have been announced. Other than for work or exceptional circumstances we stay within the county boundaries. Our pubs and restaurants close before 11 pm and social distance is maintained in all places. We should not meet anyone indoors, other than our own household, without good reason. We work from home wherever possible.

 

Whilst this is a great nuisance for us all. The decisions taken by RCT Council and the Welsh Government are intended to increase our control the virus. Let’s all do we can can and continue to support each other.


Paul Griffiths

Chair

Pontyclun Community Council

Friday, July 31, 2020

Buy local Shop local support your Community


Buy local Shop local logo

Pontyclun Community Council has launched a “Buy local Shop local” campaign to encourage people to use our many and varied shops and businesses

Covid 19 has hit all communities hard and Pontyclun is no exception. Lockdown has meant that many of our local businesses have had to close temporarily and our shopping areas have been strangely quiet.

Things are now returning to normal with businesses back open and ready to welcome customers back.

We urge people to help support our local community by using our shops when you can. We have a great variety of shops providing a range of services from food to clothing, flowers to hairdressers. When these businesses do well we all benefit from them and our Community improves.

Councillor Gwyn Jacks on said “The Council is really proud of our community and the wide variety of shops and businesses that we have. We wish to encourage as many people as possible to support and help them to thrive and continue to serve us and our needs.

If we Buy local and Shop local then we all gain from the vibrant and energetic shops and the great spirit that builds in the heart of our Community”

More information about the range of businesses that can be found in Pontyclun can be found here

Friday, July 24, 2020

The Covid spring of 2020

2020 has been a very challenging year for the community of Pontyclun. Coronvirus has threatened us all and some families have lost loved ones. Many of us have been isolated in our homes. So much of what makes Pontyclun lively and exciting has been put in limbo. All our local groups, our sporting clubs, many of our businesses, our churches and chapels have suspended their activities.

But we are not defeated. Quietly, behind the scenes, the people of Pontyclun have worked hard to keep in touch with each other, support each other. Businesses have changed their plans and despite their difficulties they are returning, providing work and vitality to our town.

Local volunteers and local councillors have been working together to provide support – conversation, shopping, medicines – to our most vulnerable neighbours.

Our local workers in social care and the health service have put themselves at risk daily to provide care to those most in need. We thank them

Our volunteer community councillors have continued to meet regularly on our tablets and computers. At the peak of the virus we needed to close down so much – Café 50 with its daily meals and daily activities, Pontyclun Park, the public toilets. We cancelled our annual ‘Picnic in the Park’.

But our staff, despite the restrictions on working together, have kept open our public footpaths and Ivor Woods and this has been so important as we have taken our daily exercise. They continued to collect litter and empty the bins. They have given us our usual floral displays in Pontyclun Miskin and Groes Faen. We thank them.



For the moment the virus has abated. Our businesses are re-opening.  We have the best of cafes, pubs and restaurants, shops and galleries – they deserve our support. We have re-opened the Park. Our sporting clubs are resuming some of their activities – they deserve our support. Our schools will re-open fully in September –our teachers have done a fantastic job in caring for the most needy children and providing lessons over home computers. We are all working within the suitably cautious guidance of the Welsh Government.

The virus has not disappeared. We must take care to stay safe. But the people of Pontyclun are truly remarkable. Working together, supporting each other we are re-making our marvellous community. Well done everyone.


Paul Griffiths

Chair, Pontyclun Community Council


Thursday, April 16, 2020

Coronavirus support in our area

Coronavirus support in our area



These are strange times indeed with lockdowns and social distancing the norm. This does mean that many of our older and more vulnerable residents are particularly at risk from isolation and may not be able to access medicines or even food.

RCT Council has set up a number of Community Resilience Hubs to support those who have been advised by the UK and Welsh Governments to self-isolate - those who are aged over 70 years of age, have a pre-existing health conditions, are pregnant or are displaying symptoms of the virus.
A total of seven hubs will co-ordinate Council Staff, and Community Resilience Volunteers, alongside the third sector, to support between 10,000 & 15,000 vulnerable people who are now required to self-isolate for a period of at least 12 weeks. The Hubs will also support those who are aged over 70 years of age, have a pre-existing health condition, are pregnant or are displaying symptoms of the virus.
The following buildings will act as Community Resilience Hubs/Centres:
·         Aberdare Library
·         Llantrisant Library
·         Ferndale Library
·         Mountain Ash Library
·         Garth Olwg Library
·         Porth Library
·         Llys Cadwyn

Vulnerable residents
Vulnerable residents with serious underlying health conditions will have received a letter from the NHS by post and are directed to seek support from friends, family or neighbours for tasks including delivering food and medicine during this period in line with the advice set out in the letter.
If you do not have people who can help and support you, residents are advised to contact the Council on 01443 425020 or Request Non-Urgent Assistance here.
Please Note: If you require Critical Adult Social Care Support, please call 01443 425003 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm) or the Emergency Duty Team on 01443 743665 (outside of these hours).
Residents in these circumstances are advised that they will continue to get the healthcare they require during this period. Your GP practice and hospital care team know who is in this higher risk category and will be in touch if any changes are needed to your care.

Pharmacies
Please find below a list of chemists that will deliver medication
·         A&J Sheppard Pharmacy 1 Ty-Isaf, Pontyclun, CF72 9LJ 01443 225437
Anne Williams 22 Cowbridge Rd, Pontyclun CF72 9EE 01443 22431
·         Llanharan Pharmacy 3 The Square, Llanharan, Pontyclun CF72 9NR 01443 226223
·         Pontyclun Pharmacy Ltd 21-23 Cowbridge Rd, Pontyclun CF72 9EA 01443 224361
·         Talbot Pharmacy Heol Y Gyfraith, Talbot Green, Pontyclun CF72 8AJ 01443 226114

Food

We are aware this may result in some of our users needing alternative catering arrangements; RCT Meals on Wheels are still offering this service so you can contact them on Email: mealsonwheels@rctcbc.gov.uk or Tel: 01443 281140 (24 hour answering machine)

The Pontyclun deli is also offering frozen food delivery, you can contact them on 01443 225579.

Volunteers and Local support
The RCT Council is currently calling for volunteers to play a role in this community resilience support, working alongside Council Officers and the third sector
Margaret Griffiths our local RCT councillor is also coordinating a Community Friends scheme, that will provide assistance to people in isolation. If you would like to be a volunteer this please contact Margaret on 01443 229301

Residents seeking help and support from local people should contact Margaret Griffiths who can arrange for one of out nearly 100 volunteers to help you

Here’s the latest organisations providing support to people in Taff Ely and across RCT. Thanks to our colleagues at Interlink for putting this together.
For the latest up to date information visit RCTCBC.GOV.UK

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Happy New Year Pontyclun


Happy New Year Pontyclun


Café 50

Café 50 is a café run by Pontyclun Community Council as a social centre for older people. It offers affordable and freshly cooked midday meals and has a continuous programme of social activities to serve every interest.

Over Christmas, Café 50 had a much needed re-paint. It now looks as fresh and as inviting as when it was first opened in 1995. The repainting was undertaken by the Probation Service who provided people fulfilling Community Safety Orders. My thanks to them and to Julius Roszkowski, the Council’s Chief Officer for organising the partnership with the Probation Service. Several community councillors volunteered their time over Christmas to get the Café ready for its re-opening.

PICTURE 

The range of activities at Café 50 includes
·         A Weekly Quiz organised by Cllr Gwyn Jackson
·         A monthly Film Club organised by Cllr Mike Davies
·         A weekly social group for families living with Dementia organised by Sabrina Cartlidge with Cllr Margaret Griffiths, Cllr Ann Jackson and other volunteers
·         A weekly Craft Group – Welcome Friends
·         Mature Movers
·         Armchair Yoga
·         Indoor Curling
·         Yarnmongers
·         Cantorion Pontyclun
·         Macmillan Support Group

Café 50 is by organised by Tara Davies who works part time for the Community Council in a post part funded by RCT Council.



If you are interested in have lunch at Café 50 or joining any of the groups, you can contact Tara 01443 238500 or e-mail cafe50@pontyclun-cc.gov.wales

Pontyclun U3A
Back in 2015 when we were first developing Café 50 we wrote about the University of the Third Age in the Diary inviting local people to meet and form a group – the rest is history! Pontyclun U3A is now at the centre of Pontyclun life. Anyone not in full time employment can enjoy any of its sociable learning groups which include:
·         Walking
·         History
·         Play reading
·         Music appreciation
·         Drawing
·         Spanish
·         Welsh
·         Book reading
·         Petanque
·         Gardening
·         Bird Watching

Most of these groups meet at Café 50. You can learn more about these groups through this website https://www.pontyclun.net/u3a. Or you can ring the Café 50 Coordinator, Tara Davies on 01443 238500.

History of Café 50

I believe that Pontyclun Community Council is the only Community Council in Wales to run a social and dining facility like Café 50. How did this happen?
It was back in 2014 that RCT Council announced its intention to close half of all its libraries and day centres across the county borough. The UK Government had already set out on its programme of deep austerity. The global banking system had teetered on the edge of collapse in 2008 due the banks’ reckless and unregulated lending policies. Governments across the Globe intervened to bail out the banks and the UK Government, after 2010, was determined to cover the cost through savage cuts in public services – even though the banks had a programme of repayment. RCT Council set out to protect its schools and its social services but all other budgets were cut by 50%. The end result was that either Pontyclun Library or Pontyclun Day Centre had to go.
Pontyclun Community Council, with RCT Cllrs Margaret and Paul Griffiths, intervened with a plan to run the Day Centre, renamed Café 50. We saved the Day Centre and transformed the contribution that it makes to the town of Pontyclun.

Pontyclun Community Venues

We are very fortunate to have a range of venues which serve the interests of our very active community. They include the Community Centre, the Rugby Club, Bethel Baptist Church, St Paul’s Church.

Pontyclun Athletic Club has a special place which is not well understood. It is in a very real sense owned by the people of Pontyclun having been gifted to trustees by Godfrey Clark in 1910. The trustees are charged with running the club in the interests of the people of Pontyclun.

Maintaining these venues is a challenge for all the volunteers involved. The Community Council seeks to work with all such volunteers so that we can support each other and coordinate our efforts. If there is space available we can be sharing that information and inform groups who are looking for such space.

Community Council Budget

The Community Council at its meeting on 8 January 2020 agreed its budget for the coming financial year. The Council plans to spend £122.100 in the coming year – 2.7% more than this year which largely reflects increases in staff costs. This budget will result in the average Pontyclun household being charged £34.79 towards the Council’s costs.

The Community Council budget will cover the costs of Café 50, the town centre car park, Pontyclun Park, Ivor Woods, summer flowers and Christmas lights, maintenance of public footpaths, the Christmas Festival, Picnic in the Park.

The Community Council receives no money from the Welsh Government. All its community councillors are volunteers who choose not to receive any payments.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Looking forward to events in the Autumn and Winter at Pontyclun


Pontyclun Christmas Festival
Saturday 23 November
Put this date in your diaries. From 2 pm till 8 pm the only place for you and your family will be  Pontyclun Athletic Club.
This will be the best Christmas Festival any town in Wales has ever enjoyed.
Christmas banner


The volunteers of our wonderful Macmillan Fundraising Group will be organising a Christmas Market inside the Athletic Club from 2 pm to 6 pm. Every craft trader who has goods of quality and affordability will be there.  Any Christmas shopping anguish will be replaced by a friendly smile and a festive hug. Forget the soul-less, friend-less internet, come to the Athletic Club. Our High Street shops will also be open during the Festival.
Father Christmas will want to meet every child.
Outside the Club the Community Council will be providing a marquee and stage. All our Primary School choirs will ensure that our talented children bring the festive season to life. Pat and Ned of Llantrisant Folk Club will entertain and provide a twmpath. There will be choirs, folk and rock bands galore. This is a music festival to end all.
There will be food stalls for every taste and fairground rides along with our many community groups.
Pontyclun’s famous Christmas lights and tree, the best of any small town in Wales, provided by the Community Council, will be turned on with a launch by the cast of Pontyclun Pantomime at Giles Gallery.





Trains for Christmas
Most days I catch the commuter train to and from Cardiff. It is a truly awful experience. I stand for each journey squashed embarrassingly hard against my travelling companions. Some say it is a ‘cattle truck’ but that is unfair on our farmers who comply with EU regulations that offer better care for animals than there is for rail passengers. Thousands of potential rail users give up the train and clog up the motorway instead.
A year ago a new company was formed to provide our train service: Transport for Wales. It promised an initial upgrade of our trains by the end of 2019. The dreadful ‘pacer trains’ – often described as nasty old buses on tracks – will be replaced
A replacement fleet of trains has now been purchased for the Pontyclun line. The new trains will increase the capacity per train by 40%. The trains are now in Cardiff being adapted for the line and drivers are being re-trained. Let us hope they are in operation by Christmas. When they arrive we will applaud Transport for Wales and then continue our campaign for a minimum of two stopping trains an hour.

Pacer Train

Thanks for the Flowers
Community Council staff, Darren and Ray, plant, water and feed all our flower beds in the town centre, the station and Groes Faen. As in every other year the flowers have been a cause of pride and joy – attracting people to Pontyclun and its town centre. Darren and Ray also maintain our 20 miles of public rights of way, Pontyclun Park and Ivor Woods. It has been a busy summer. This is part of the service you gain for your annual average payment of £33 to the Community Council.



Flower Bed in Pontyclun

Walking Rugby
On 4 September Pontyclun Rugby Club and Pontyclun Community Council hosted a very successful walking rugby festival with visiting teams from the Rhondda, Ynysybwl, Newport and Cardiff. The last time I was in a team with JPR Williams was probably on the playing fields of Bridgend Grammar School in 1966. Our playing paths diverged in the meantime.

The team are always looking for new players, new or ex-players; male or female. Just come along to a training session at Pontyclun park on Mondays at 6.30pm or Wednesdays at 10am

Pontyclun walking Rugby team

Owain Glyndwr
I am writing on 16 September and I have been told that this is Owain Glyndwr Day. Glyndwr led the Welsh revolt against the rule of the English King, Henry 1V, between 1400 and 1415. By 1404 most of Wales, including Pontyclun, and much of midlands of England were controlled by Glyndwr.
Owain was part of the Welsh gentry, owning lordships in north Wales. Living in London he was favoured by the court of Richard 11 and doing very nicely. The coup by Henry IV in 1399 threatened Owain’s wealth and title and so he started the revolt. Initially he was remarkably successful, building alliances with Scotland, Ireland and France; but his defeat and death came in 1415.
Faced with unlawful and unrestrained rulers of England; Owain Glyndwr worked to create political unions across what is now the United Kingdom and Europe. Ring any bells! 

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Community garden Green Flag and other memories


Pontyclun Community Garden
Our own community garden  in Pontyclun Park has been awarded the prestigious ‘Green Flag’ by Keep Wales Tidy.
The Green Flag Award is the international mark of a quality park or green space. The Community Award is in recognition of the contribution of the many volunteers who have created and developed our community garden.
The volunteers, led by Lisa Williams, are all wonderful. They created the growing beds and each year they plant the shrubs which we can all enjoy and the vegetables  we can take home for our dinner. The volunteers are supported by the Community Council which provides the Park and the space for the garden.

Person working at Pontyclun Community garden


Terry Walton Celebrates Community Garden
The famous Rhondda allotment gardener and broadcaster, Terry Walton, came to meet our garden volunteers in celebration of the Green Park Award.
Terry is well known for his fascinating gardening stories on Radio 2 and other radio stations. He told us how his father first took him to the Rhondda allotment at the age of 4 years and how he gained his own first allotment at the age of 11. With over 60 years of gardening experience he gave us a lot of encouragement and advice, and some very funny stories.
Pontyclun Community garden team meet Terry Walton






Celebrating Edwina Godwin
Sadly, Edwina Godwin, the Chair of Governors for Pontyclun Primary School, died in July. Edwina spent her life adding to the quality of education in our schools, enriching the lives of young children, as a teacher, adviser and governor. Edwina made this lifelong contribution with charm and robust good humour. She was loved and admired by the parishioners of St Paul’s and St Anne’s. She was as a director of our Community Shop which has funded so many good causes in our community. Edwina has been active in the Soroptimist International which works to educate, empower and enable opportunities for women and girls. Edwina contributed to the lives of so many and will live on in our memory.

Table Top Sale
On Saturday, 28 September, Pontyclun Institute and Athletic Club are holding a Table Top Sale from Mid-day to 4 pm in aid of Parkinsons UK. If you wish to provide a stall ring Katherine on 0777 3232372.

Pontyclun Community Centre
Also on Saturday 28 September the Community Centre will be celebrating its 25th birthday by unveiling a commemorative bench and providing musical entertainment. The Management Committee of this centre are a wonderful group of volunteers who illustrate the community spirit of Pontyclun. Year after year they manage, maintain and develop this crucial community facility; and we are all indebted to them.

Pontyclun Community Centre and Cafe 50

The Community Centre has a fascinating history. There had been a social hall on this site since the time the Marquis of Bute owned the land. The Butes transferred the land to a commercial property developer, Western Groundrents, who offered the land for sale in 1961. Residents of Pontyclun raised a fund of £1100 in memory of our local GP, Gordon Jones, and used this fund to purchase the land and the hall. The residents nominated trustees who transferred the management of the hall to a Committee which continues to be elected annually. The trustees nominated the County Council as the ‘executive trustee’ which exercised the responsibilities of ownership. In 1994 the Council replaced the original social hall with the current community centre and day centre (which is now Café 50).





Pontyclun’s Council Housing
In July 1919, 100 years ago, Parliament passed the Act of the Housing Minister, Christopher Addison, which paved the way for the development of Council Housing. Take a walk up Heol y Coed and admire the quality of the original council housing which was developed by our local council as a result of this Act.
Council houses in Pontyclun



Millions of British people benefited from the period of council house development that followed. In the 1950’s I was privileged to be an original occupier of a ‘prefab’ in Sandfields, Aberavon. As my sisters and brother arrived, we became the first occupiers of a ‘Cornish house’ down by the beach. The large majority of these council houses were sold off, and not replaced, by the Thatcher Government in the 1980’s.
Evidence collected by the Welsh Government shows that half of the people who now enter the housing market cannot afford to buy a house – average house prices are over five times average annual earnings; and a deposit will be more than a year’s wages. If our children and grandchildren are going to continue living in Pontyclun,  then half of them will need to see the building of a new generation of council housing – and yet many residents might say ‘not in my back yard’!

September update

Oh Dear! Just as we write this article we are reflecting on the news that a spike in the cases of Coronavirus has caused a local lockdown in...