A Warm Welcome Awaits in Cwmbach!

Written by on 15th February 2024

A local Winter Welcome Centre (WWC) in Cwmbach, is once again proving to be a real lifeline this winter for some of the most vulnerable people in the community.

The Cornerstone Church, Cynon Valley Church Centre was awarded over £4000 through Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Shared Prosperity Fund, administered by the RCT Together team.

A total of 56 groups and organisations across the County Borough have successfully been awarded funding support via the winter hardship fund this year. With over £107,000 being awarded to providing Winter Welcome Centres in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

Libby Jones, who is the founder and project manager of the popular Cornerstone WWC in Cwmbach, works tirelessly to make sure that the Cynon Valley community gets everything that they need. Libby is part of Cornerstone Church, Cwmbach, which is located along Sion Terrace, Aberdare – the centre opens its doors to anyone in the community, every Monday and Wednesday from 1pm-3pm. The Centre offers a very warm welcome, a warm meal, hot drink and a great opportunity to chat to others.

The Winter Welcome Centre at Cornerstone Church is a shining beacon for the concept as it really is a lifeline for the community of Cwmbach, offering much, much more than just a cuppa – the centre also offers a food and clothes bank, alongside a warm pack for those who are struggling. The project also works with the local schools to support families in the area with anything they need, including delivering nutritious fresh food packages and recipes being put together by the volunteers at the centre.

The centre is always buzzing with activities, with games on offer and always someone available to take up the challenge of a game of draughts. It’s not all fun and games though as local support services, regularly set up shop at the centre to offer advice and signpost those who need help – From Paddy in Trivallis, Victoria and Steve in RCT Together to Cynon Valley Citizens Advice Centre, if they can’t help, they will know someone who can and are willing to take the time to be there and help you navigate the challenges.

The centre is always looking for more volunteers and two of the ‘busy bees’ Vicky Morgan and Maria Morton helping at the centre, first came there looking for help themselves last year and have now become part of the Cornerstone family, helping others get back on their feet and helping to prepare the hot meals, drinks and clothing.

The warm packs available in all centres include items that help people stay warm and/or use less energy. Items such as Blanket/duvet, Hot water bottle, Thermal mug, Dressing gown, Slippers/warm socks, Gloves, Fleece, Scarf, Thermal curtains. They also include some energy saving items such as Self-bleeding radiator keys, Boiler coats, Air tap head adapters, Insulation tape, Tumble dryer balls, Draft excluder and Energy-saving bulbs.

If you’re feeling the cold and need a safe place to stay warm, have a snack, warm cuppa, a chat, charge your mobile phone, get free energy advice and even get involved in free activities – then these centres really will offer you a much-needed lifeline.

There are 86 Community Welcome Centres operating across Rhondda Cynon Taf this winter. This includes 73 third sector organisations and 13 Council facilities.

All Libraries within the County Borough will once again be operating as Winter Welcome Centres and residents will be assured of a warm welcome, and a place to relax and recharge mobile devices.

Cornerstone Church are happy to accept any community donations of toys, clothes, small electrical items – please email contact@cynonvalleychurch.com or call on 01443 479306 for more information.

Councillor Bob Harris, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Communities who recently visited the facility, said:

“Cornerstone Church in Cwmbach is a beacon for what we wanted Winter Welcome Centres to be – a warm welcoming place, where people can feel safe to ask for help and get help when things get to much. It was great to see the support that they are providing first hand. I can definitely confirm that there is a warm welcome awaiting those that need it – Libby and the team are doing a fantastic job in supporting the community of Cwmbach.

“ALL Winter Welcome Centres in RCT aim to provide a safe place to stay warm, have a snack, warm cuppa and a chat. Last year the centres helped over 3199 adults last winter. Over 1500 sessions were provided and over 3200 warm drinks and snacks were made and over 2000 much needed, warm packs were given out.

“The Council is aware of the pressure’s families are currently experiencing and are doing all they can to support them – From providing much needed financial support to family payments and discretionary housing payments and providing financial support to local foodbanks to help them continue to deliver their vital work.”

“It’s thanks to people like Libby and the amazing volunteers that the Cwmbach WWC has been such a success – the feedback from people who have visited the centre has been fantastic and they really are offering a lifeline to some of the most vulnerable people in the community – they are doing and amazing job.”

Residents who feel that they need extra support can contact the Council at any time via the Community Resilience Hubs by completing a ‘request for support form’ online at www.rctcbc.gov.uk/CostOfLiving. Support will be provided by; Council Staff, Community Resilience Volunteers; 3rd Sector and community partners.

For full details and locations on the Winter Welcome Centres please visit www.rctcbc.gov.uk/WinterWelcomeCentres and for general advice on the cost of living support that is available to you, visit www.rctcbc.gov.uk/CostOfLiving.

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