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Bryncethin RFC pavilion upgraded following successful Community Asset Transfer

The Leader of the Council, Councillor Huw David, and the Cabinet Member for Communities, Councillor Stuart Baldwin, recently visited the Bryncethin Community Centre which was re-opened in July 2019 following the re-development of the sports pavilion which cost more than £550,000 following the Community Asset Transfer (CAT) of the building and playing fields to Bryncethin RFC. Accompanying them on the visit was local Councillor Gary Thomas.

Bryncethin RFC was awarded a 35-year lease as part of the CAT transfer process in 2018. Since then, the club pavilion has undergone a major overhaul and been transformed into a welcoming and multi-functional community hub. Building work included an extension, an additional second storey and a car park.

This transformation was made possible by the Bridgend County Borough making a total contribution of £166,000, with additional funding provided by the Welsh Government’s Community Facilities Programme and Rural Development Fund, the National Lottery People and Places fund and the WRU. The project was managed by Phil Jones, vice chair of Bryncethin RFC and designed by Paul Watkin at PDW Building Designs

In addition to the Council’s funding towards the cost of the building refurbishment, the CAT Fund has also provided additional funding of £10,000 for pitch maintenance equipment (August 2020) and £7,110 for drainage / pitch improvements which was approved in February 2022 for work to be undertaken during the close season.  A further £3,500 was also recently awarded to the Club under the Council’s Bridgend Sports Support grant for mini and junior team development and day-to-day pitch maintenance costs.

The Covid pandemic initially restricted the usage of the new facility, but it has since flourished as a social hub for the community, with the space being used for amenities such as childcare, martial arts, dance clubs and a food parcel collection centre for those in need.

The facility provides a home for Bryncethin RFC as well as a range of community groups and events. The community centre and clubhouse features disability-friendly facilities including a lift accessing both floors, a large meeting room with a balcony overlooking the rugby-pitch, smaller meeting rooms, a kitchen and IT suite as well as changing rooms and showers.

Reflecting on his experience of the CAT process, Phil Jones, vice chair of Brynethin RFC said: “The results of the CAT transfer speak for themselves when you see the facilities that we now have here in Bryncethin. If I had any words of advice for anyone undertaking the process it would be to allow time as this kind of transformative regeneration does not happen overnight.

“I would also advise that you have a good core team of people around you to help shoulder the workload but stay small so decisions can be made fairly quickly without the need for large committee discussions. Despite the pressures of getting it done, it has definitely been worth it. I would certainly encourage other clubs to engage with the CAT process”.

The facilities at Bryncethin Community Centre are a testament to the value of the CAT scheme for local communities. By taking on the responsibilities of the venue, not only does the local community have stewardship of their own facilities but they are able to access far more Government grant funding than would be available through the council alone.

The building is a tribute to collaboration, passion and willingness of club members and the local community, all of whom have worked tirelessly to make this happen. Bridgend County Borough Council is proud to have helped bring this facility up to the standards that the community deserves.

Council Leader Huw David

Cllr. Baldwin also added “Bryncethin Community Centre is an asset that all the community can be proud of, and the re-development ensures these facilities are protected for future generations.”

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