The new Mountain Ash Community Hub (Canolfan Pennar) officially opens to the public today (Friday), offering local residents improved access to a range of Council services. Based on the site of the former Mountain Ash Day Centre in Oxford Street, Mountain Ash, the ‘Hub’ opens its doors for the first time on Monday, June 3. It is home to the brand-new Mountain Ash Library, which has relocated from nearby Knight Street. Facilities also include the new Elaine Morgan Community Room, which incorporates the new Elaine Morgan Commemorative Panel – the second of the influential female figures panel to be unveiled in Rhondda Cynon Taf this year after the Lady Rhondda installation at Tonypandy Library. The late Dr. Elaine Morgan OBE, of Mountain Ash, an award-winning author, television writer, playwright and newspaper columnist, was granted the Freedom of Rhondda Cynon Taf in April 2013. She sadly died three months later. The Nos Galan Honours Board has also been relocated and is on display at the Canolfan Pennar Community Hub, listing every Nos Galan Mystery Runner from 1958 up to the present day.
Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, said: “The new Canolfan Pennar Community Hub not only offers the local community with improved access to a number of Council services, which have now been brought under one roof, but it also acts as a focal point in the town in which residents can gather for a range of activities. “Alongside the new facilities, which include housing the town’s library provision and a dedicated ICT suite, the Hub also displays a number of local exhibitions that have a strong connection to the history of Mountain Ash. “I am pleased to confirm that the Elaine Morgan Community Room will house a commemorative panel to Elaine - who was one of the most inspiring and influential individuals that Mountain Ash has produced. This panel is the second such installation, following on from the dedication to Lady Rhondda, which was unveiled at Tonypandy Library in March this year. “It is hugely important that the stories of individuals like Elaine Morgan and Lady Rhondda live on, and act as a source of inspiration for young women across Rhondda Cynon Taf to make a difference in their communities. We will also have a third panel to Morfydd Llwyn Owen situated at the Llys Cadwyn development, once it is completed in 2020. “Additionally, Canolfan Pennar, which is situated just a stone’s throw away from the Guto Nyth Bran statue, will also feature memorabilia from the Nos Galan Road Races - which is synonymous with Mountain Ash and one of RCT’s most popular annual events. “The opening of the Council’s Mountain Ash Community Hub will certainly improve opportunities to access services in Mountain Ash town centre, and it also forms part of the wider redevelopment of the town, which focuses on the redevelopment of Rhos Square, along with the development of a new Primary Care Centre, an Extra Care Facility and the Cross-Valley Link scheme.”
The Community Hub will have extended opening hours to the previous Library and Day Centre, allowing the Council to offer a broad programme of activities to meet the needs of groups and individuals within the community. It will also incorporate a children’s area, along with flexible community rooms for public use, employment support services and a full One4aLL service, as well as 13 public access computers and The Little Rose Cafe, which will be open throughout the week. The Little Rose Cafe has been a staple choice for many locals in Mountain Ash for over 20 years and will now move into a bigger footprint as part of the Hub development. Situating the Cafe in the premises will also permit vital training opportunities to be provided, allowing for increased integration and community engagement. The use of the meeting rooms and training rooms are free of charge to community groups and non-profit organisations. Commercial organisations are also able to hire the rooms at reasonable rates. Free Wi-Fi will be available throughout the building. The majority of clubs and activities previously offered at Mountain Ash Day Centre will also continue. The Local Payment Point will allow residents to pop in and pay for a range of Council services, including Council Tax and Business Rates. The Hub also has male and female toilets, plus a full baby changing facility and a fully-adjustable electric changing bed and Oxford ceiling tracking hoist.
“The new Canolfan Pennar Hub will be a fantastic asset to the lower Cynon Valley area, not only in acting as a focal point for the town, but also in bringing a host of Council services together under one roof to ensure that we make the most of the resources at our disposal. “It is vital that we provide efficient and sustainable services to our residents and the Community Hub model certainly achieves this ambition, whilst also increasing accessibility to these services for residents by offering them in prominent and convenient locations at the heart of our local communities. “In addition to housing the town’s library facility, which is of an equivalent size to the previous arrangement, the Community Hub also has two rooms for dedicated community use, a brand new ICT room for individual learning and community based computer literacy courses, and is also now home to the popular Little Rose Tea Room which will provide an extended range of food and drink on offer. “The facility will crucially also help to tackle social isolation, improve well-being, and provide improved access to literacy, learning and employment support.”
In October 2017, the Council’s Cabinet agreed an investment programme to develop Community Hubs across RCT - to ensure that the Council is able to continue providing key frontline services through targeted investment, improving services provided to residents.The official opening ceremony takes place at Canolfan Pennar, Oxford Street, Mountain Ash, at 1:30pm on Friday, June 7. All are welcome to attend.Posted on Friday 7th June 2019