Communities first close their doors at Briton Ferry
A POPULAR Briton Ferry community education hub is to close.
Community House in Llansawel Crescent, the home of Briton Ferry Community First, will be shutting its doors on December 21.
Barry Cosker informed his fellow councillors at a Briton Ferry Town Council meeting.
"After December 21 any groups or clubs that use the Community House will be offered a venue at the Sea Cadets in Regent Street," he said. "Unfortunately it has got to that stage where there's no money for it any more."
The Welsh Government is currently launching a new Communities First programme which means a new 'Neath Cluster' is being formed.
The cluster will merge Communities First teams in Briton Ferry West, Cwmavon, Fairyland, Neath East, Neath South & Cimla and Neath Town Centre.
Briton Ferry Communities First co-ordinator Leigh Batchelor said: "Our lease was due for renewal and we have not got enough money to keep it going.
"We can't afford to pay the rent and running costs. It has been a possibility for the past 12 months. As a cluster we are looking at the needs of the whole cluster area and not just the individual areas.
"The final decision came from the local authority.
"Even though the centre has been really successful over the past 10 years it is not viable to keep it open."
But councillors said they did not want to see something else removed from the town — and want the computers and equipment from the centre to be kept in the community.
Councillor Hugh James said: "We need to try to keep these computers in Briton Ferry. I am certainly on the case."
Mr James pointed out to members that Briton Ferry West was the poorest part of Neath Port Talbot in relation to children, where 52 per cent of them were living in poverty.
"Community First was there for the benefit of communities like this," he said. "I understand the budget, but we as a community need to keep some facilities in the Briton Ferry area. The centre is well used. If the centre wasn't you would understand.
"The Sea Cadets option is welcome, but it is not that accessible. It is taking it out of the heart of the community. We are not going down without a fight."
Deputy Mayor Susan Davies said: "Everything is going from the Ferry. We have lost the hospital and the health centre is going outside of the town. We are not going to have anything here."
Aberavon AM David Rees said: "I hope that the management team for the new cluster, when approved by the Minister, will reconsider the location of the Communities First team within Briton Ferry so that it remains at the heart of the community it will be serving."
The council's head of partnership and community development, Russell Ward, said: "As a result of the changes arising from the new Communities First programme, there are less resources available.
"We have been in discussion with the community for several months and are more than happy to extend that dialogue to ensure existing assets such as computers can be of continued benefit to local groups and residents."
Fresh off the press as we post to this website discussions are taking place to see if the computers could be placed in the Briton Ferry Public Library a building and facility which we are all proud of which would help keeping it open.
Cwrt Sart School Closure Consultation
The official consultation process about the 21st century schools programme and which as we all know involves the closure of Cwrt Sart Community Comprehensive School is likely to take place from January.
This will be a wide community consultation across all Organisations, Schools, Town Council and other groups. As soon as we know more this will be posted on the Briton Ferry website. Cwrt Sart recently celebrated its pupil’s top achievements and as far as education is concerned it is one of the best schools in the county borough.
Changes to benefits
People on benefits and other assistance including Briton Ferry are beginning to realise the huge effects on what some have described as scathing cuts to the benefits system by the Westminster Government. Through this website and working closely with organisations like Welfare Rights and Credit Union this will be communicated through the Briton Ferry website.
Christmas Lights Switch On
Its Christmas lights switch on time and Father Christmas will be arriving in Briton Ferry this Thursday, November 22nd at Ynysmaerdy Primary School, a closer venue to the centre of Briton Ferry than Cwrt Sart School.
Mums, Dads and children are asked to be at the school at 5.15pm when Brynhyfryd, Llansawel and Ynysmaerdy School choirs sing prior to the arrival of Father Christmas who is travelling through Briton Ferry on a vintage fire engine and due to arrive at the school at Ynysmaerdy at 5.45pm for the great switch on at 6.00pm.
For details on Thursdays switch on contact the Town Clerk on 01639 824042
Christmas Activities in Briton Ferry
All the local schools will be holding Christmas concerts at their schools during December and the run up to Christmas. There is also the annual Macmillan concert involving Cwrt Sart School Choir and held at Rehobeth Chapel on Tuesday the 4th December at 7.00pm
Welsh Water Update
Work on the £4.3 million flooding project for Briton Ferry is nearly complete and ahead of schedule. Work has involved the laying of a massive new pipe line through the serious flooding areas of Briton Ferry and the construction of a new pumping station to take excess flooding water into the canal and river.
Welsh Water say that this is one of the biggest projects in Wales and Briton Ferry certainly deserves to have the massive investment. We will have more on this as the new scheme starts up in January.
Briton Ferry Photographic Club
Here is a great present for Christmas from Briton Ferry, a new book and the second on Brynhyfryd Primary School produced by members of the photographic club.
The book “Brynhyfryd Primary School Autograph Book 1920 – 1929” will be a pictorial collection of work from past pupils. The book is priced at £14.00 and is available from email@example.com or contacting the group through this website. 200 available limited editions.
Briton Ferry Videos
Another handy present for Christmas, there are still a limited number of the videos available on the History of Briton Ferry and the Brunel Dock story at £5.00 each,
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
With Communities First not operating in the future from Briton Ferry Neil Williams and Councillor Hugh James – a past media man are teaming up to start up once again a quarterly news column for the people of Briton Ferry.
Any items and pictures we would be pleased to hear from you.