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Community hub plan for St Mair's Day Centre, Aberdare

Cabinet Members will soon consider a plan to transform St Mair’s Day Centre in Aberdare into a new community hub, which would offer a much wider range of services for older people.

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council is working with Age Connects Morgannwg (ACM), the local older people’s charity, to expand the provision at St Mair’s Day Centre – and Cabinet will consider the proposal at a meeting on July 18.

A report before the meeting recommends Cabinet agrees to ACM undertaking a consultation process, ahead of developing a Big Lottery bid for £1.1m to redevelop St Mair’s. It also recommends a report is brought to Cabinet during September 2017, when Members will discuss whether a 99-year lease for St Mair’s is granted to ACM through the RCT Together approach.

ACM has already received a £48,000 Big Lottery grant to develop plans for the hub. If the £1.1m bid is successful, the Council will transfer the building to ACM through the capital asset transfer process.

Councillor Geraint Hopkins, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult and Children’s Community Services, said: “This project could completely transform St Mair’s Day Centre, by wholly expanding the offer and support for older people who use this important service.

“If Age Connect Morgannwg’s bid for substantial funding is successful, the Council would transfer the building and site through the capital asset transfer process – the RCT Together approach which has proved successful time and again. By working with communities and the voluntary sector, the Council can explore alternative delivery of services while securing their future.

“A decision on whether Big Lottery funding is granted for the proposal is expected during Feburary 2018, and it could see work progress on Cynon Linc by late summer next year.

“The services currently offered at St Mair’s Day Centre are already valued and this proposal seeks to build upon this provision and deliver a much wider range of services which better reflect the needs and expectations of local residents.

“This is an incredibly ambitious proposal, the first of its kind in Wales, which could transform the provision offered from this location to the wider Cynon Valley.”

St. Mairs Day Centre currently provides a lunch service to residents over the age of 50. It also houses the Meals on Wheels production kitchen, which cooks and delivers meals to people across the Cynon Valley.

ACM’s community hub is an opportunity for the Council to enhance its existing service at St Mair’s. The hub would be called Cynon Linc, and would provide older people with activities throughout the day – from arts and crafts to education classes, gardening, concerts and films. It would also have a sensory room for people with dementia, alongside a dementia cafe.

Cynon Linc would include a social enterprise bistro providing healthy meals and snacks, which would be open to the whole community. There would be a community space for local groups to hire, alongside a hall for events.

The building would house the head office of Age Connects Morgannwg so people can easily access its services – including Community Outreach, Befriending, and an Information and Advice team offering general and specialist advice for older people.

Childcare provision for up to 20 children would also be provided.

The plans would see the potential relocation of the Meals on Wheels service currently operated from St Mair’s.