Issue date: 15 May 2015
ARTS COUNCIL OF WALES & WELSH GOVERNMENT PLEDGE £4.25m TO TRANSFORM HISTORIC YMCA AT THE HEART OF PONTYPRIDD INTO STATE OF THE ART
CULTURAL & COMMUNITY HUB
Appeal begins to complete Pontypridd forefathers’ vision
An architect’s image of the proposed design for the new frontage of the Ponty YM Building, subject to planning approval
Click here to listen to GTFM’s interview with the architect Jonathan Adams
‘Ponty YM’ (Pontypridd YMCA) has witnessed the flourishing of many talents, Tom Jones and Sir Geraint Evans among them. Today, plans were unveiled to transform this iconic building in the heart of Pontypridd to a state of the art culture and community hub, with the aim of developing local people’s talents and creativity and stimulate regeneration, and prosperity. The £6m redevelopment scheme is being designed by Wales Millennium Centre architect, Jonathan Adams, working alongside a project team led by Artis Community and Pontypridd YMCA. The Arts Council of Wales, a core partner in this transformative project today announced their contribution of £2.25m towards its realisation alongside Welsh Government’s pledge of £2m through its Vibrant and Viable Places Programme, operated through Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council.
Announcing their support for the project, Kath Davies, Director of Investment and Funding Services on behalf of the Arts Council of Wales said: “We are pleased to have been able to support this ambitious project through our Capital Programme. Ponty YM will significantly contribute to the sustainability and long-term resilience of the area and support the capacity to deliver great art and culture to the local community and beyond. This project will also champion the opportunity for young people to achieve their creative potential.”
Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, Lesley Griffiths said:
“Our vision is for everybody in Wales to live in vibrant communities with excellent facilities and a good quality of life. These exciting plans for Pontypridd YMCA are set to transform this iconic building and regenerate the local area.
I am very pleased the Welsh Government has been able to support this project with £2 m of funding. The centre will act as a creative, social and educational hub at the very heart of the community.”
Cllr Robert Bevan, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Planning, said: “The Council’s success in securing funding through Vibrant and Viable Places ensures a range of projects will be delivered which will benefit Pontypridd and surrounding communities.
The Council now looks forward to working with partners on this project to develop the provision of arts and cultural arts activities in the area.”
In addition to installing state of the art facilities which will help redefine the use and potential of the building, this project will also finally complete the vision set out by the community of Pontypridd in the opening years of the 20th Century, when working-class townspeople clubbed together to bring the YMCA to life. At that time, restricted funds meant that the building could not be completed in full, and plans for two stories of the construction and facilities were abandoned.
This new development of the building, over a hundred years after its September 1910 opening, will finally complete the people’s vision, and deliver a fit for purpose suite of arts, recreation, learning and community facilities that will help realise the talents and potential of people in the local area and celebrate their achievements. Moreover, it aims to provide a focus for developing the skills and creativity of the surrounding valley communities, while also honouring the heritage of this historic town and beautiful landscape.
The project has already undergone many years of planning, but now the project team is preparing to begin the work of transforming this historic building, and today also launched the appeal for the remaining £1.7 million. This will be raised through applications to trusts and foundations as well as an appeal in which local people can help to close the funding gap and complete their forefather’s vision with small donations. For further information, please have a look at www.ymcapontypridd.org
For more than a Century, Ponty YM has been a home for services and activities that have nourished the cultural and physical well being of generations. It remains popular, and constant use and time’s march has taken its toll on the building and its facilities, rendering the building no longer fit for purpose. This project provides an exciting opportunity to create an astounding hub for activity that will inspire and nurture the ambition of communities across the heart of the Valleys in the 21st Century, and create a place that we can be proud of, and which will serve the area for generations to come. It will work alongside the Muni Arts Centre in Pontypridd, to deliver cultural experiences and creative skills to the region, as well and maintain a focus on health and wellbeing, which are key priorities for improving the lives of people in this post industrial area.
Jonathan Adams, Special Projects Director of Capita Architecture, and designer of the renowned Wales Millennium Centre has been engaged to redesign the interior of the building and sensitively renovate, renew and complete the exterior. Speaking about his passion for this project, he said: “My parents both come from the Valleys and most of our family is here. I spent a lot of my childhood here, and I remember it clearly as it used to be. It seems to me that the future of Wales is profoundly linked to the future prosperity and sustainability of the Valleys. Projects like this one have the potential, at this point in time, to make a real statement about the kind of future that we want for the Valleys.”
Ponty’s YMCA has played a central role in the life of this valley’s community since it was first opened. Local people have developed sporting talents, from netball to table tennis, theatrical and musical flair, dance, fitness and craft skills and workplace qualifications. In addition, many will tell you that it’s where they met their spouse, proposed and celebrated key life moments. Leonitia Walters, a resident of Pontypridd spoke about the value of this redevelopment for the region: “I had the privilege and opportunity of using Ponty YM’s facilities from a young age and now my daughter is using them. This is what we should seek for our society, Inter-generational projects that will continue to serve, grow, and lead the way in what RCT has to offer. Projects like the YMCA and the new Muni enable regional communities to achieve their individual goals and aspirations. Importantly, they become a meeting point for diverse cultures, backgrounds and abilities, allowing us to create future citizenship – something we can be proud of now, and an invaluable legacy for our future.”
Ponty YM will be throwing open its doors on Thursday 4th of June, and inviting local people in for a tour of the lesser known parts of the building, and a chance to meet the architect and have a closer look at the plans and designs for the new building. Members of the redevelopment team will be on hand to explain more about the process over a cup of tea and importantly, local people will be invited to share their views and ideas about what activities they’d like to see offered at the new Ponty YM.
There will be two sessions during the day (lasting about an hour and a half each), the first at 1.30pm and the second at 6.30pm.