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Grant support helps 69 local businesses

Written by on 9th August 2021

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council have announced that 69 local businesses based in the county have had access to Welsh Government funding to develop their outdoor spaces, which has enabled them to increase trading capacity and provided flexibility during coronavirus restrictions – via £366,000 funding across two grants.

In January 2021, officers in the Council’s Regeneration department wrote to small and medium-sized businesses across Rhondda Cynon Taf, to promote funding opportunities via the Town Centre COVID Recovery Grant in the Transforming Towns initiative, as well as new funding available from the Valleys Taskforce COVID Recovery Grant.

Businesses in the County Borough’s larger town centres were eligible for the Transforming Towns scheme – for outdoor projects enabling social distancing and contributing to a high street environment people felt safe to return to. In total, 21 projects (£128,000 in total) were funded across Aberdare, Ferndale, Llantrisant, Mountain Ash, Pontypridd, Porth, Tonypandy and Treorchy. Businesses benefited from a grant of up to £10,000, covering 80% of costs.

Traders located in smaller retail areas were invited to apply for funding from a similar grant made available by the Valleys Taskforce. In total, 48 businesses (£238,000 across 29 local retail areas) have since benefitted from a grant of up to £10,000, which covered all of the project costs for each applicant.

Below are some examples of successful projects across the two grants:

The Thirsty Elephant – Pontyclun

The coffee shop and cocktail bar is a new business and has received Council support in its start-up. The business received Valleys Taskforce grant funding to introduce street café furniture, planters and an automated heated awning.

The Temple Bar – Aberaman

The traditional pub has transformed its beer garden outdoor space, with help from the Valleys Taskforce grant. The project has included introducing multi-level seated areas, heaters, gazebos and a number of COVID screens.

JACS – Aberdare

The restaurant bar and music venue has developed its outdoor space using Transforming Towns funding. It used a local construction company to design and develop the garden area, including new picnic areas and patio heaters.

The Llwyncelyn, Porth

The Victorian pub also used the Transforming Towns funding to transform its traditional beer garden. A local carpentry company added several secluded and sheltered dining booths, picnic-style bench tables and barrel seating.

Jellyfish Café, Abercynon

The café utilised Valleys Taskforce funding to transform their previously-unused outside space into a seating and dining area. The grant helped the business buy outdoor furniture, lighting and a large retractable canopy.

D Lites, Talbot Green

The café and takeaway wanted to make the most of its outdoor space, and the Valleys Taskforce grant provided an external, decked and covered eating area with heating. The work was delivered by a local carpentry business.

The Rheola Hotel, Porth

The traditional pub benefitted from a modern enhancement to the external seating area. The Transforming Towns grant helped introduce a grey deck with wooden screening, lighting and planters, heaters and retractable canopy.

Councillor Robert Bevan, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Enterprise, Development and Housing, said: “An important part of the Council’s support to local businesses in the pandemic has been informing them about the grants available – both internally, and from external sources such as Welsh Government. The Transforming Towns and Valleys Taskforce grants, delivered by the Council’s Regeneration department, could help businesses develop and improve existing outdoor spaces, and these were promoted within the 28 retail areas that were eligible.

“We know that creating additional outdoor spaces, often by bringing unused areas into use or creating environments which promote social distancing, has allowed many businesses to adhere to restrictions and increase their trading during the pandemic. However, these improvements have not only been suitable in recent months, but will still be beneficial and relevant into the future. 

“I’m pleased that the Council’s help in raising awareness and administering the grants has allowed 69 local businesses to receive support – amounting to £366,000 across the two grants. It’s also fantastic to see these examples, which have shown how the funding has been used to great effect.”