New Skills Centre in Aberdare welcomes local MP

Cynon Valley MP Beth Winter visited ACT Training’s new facilities in Aberdare’s Canon Street yesterday.

ACT says Ms Winter took a tour of the accessible centre, spent time with both staff and learners, and heard how all learners are offered a pathway to employment or further study.

Beth Winter MP at the ACT Training Centre

Beth Winter MP said: “It was lovely to spend some time in the brilliant new ACT training centre in Aberdare.

“It’s vital we have a variety of opportunities and skills pathways for young people in our communities and I came away feeling inspired by the passion of staff and the enthusiasm of learners.”

ACT was previously located in Victoria Square but they say the new Canon Street centre offers a bigger space for learners, in a more prominent location, with the capacity for up to 100 learners. In Aberdare, ACT offers support and training opportunities to 16–18-year-olds looking to join the world of work. Learners can complete a traineeship in hairdressing, childcare, business services and more. They are also given advice and guidance on writing CVs, interview techniques and other tips to land their dream job.


Save the Children’s Zip Wire Challenge

Supporters of the Save the Children’s Aberdare branch are preparing to brave the world’s fastest seated zip line to help raise money.

Zip World Tower

The challenge will take place at Zip World Tower at the former Tower Colliery site on Saturday 25th September with a group of 25 supporters from across South Wales. They’ll join the Aberdare adrenaline-seekers in their fundraising efforts for the charity.

The Aberdare branch is one of the oldest in the UK, established in 1954.

Longstanding volunteer, Mrs Shirley Fleming has been helping the branch for over sixty years, is a former Chair and received the Princess Royal Award for her work. She is still an active member and having celebrated her 86th birthday, she is now preparing to reach new hights in her efforts to raise money for a cause that is so close to her heart.

“This is one of the craziest things I’ve ever done if I’m honest and I’m a bit nervous about it. Flying 1.5km over the old colliery at a speed of over 70mph whilst taking in the views of the Rhigos mountains was not something I expected to be doing in my late eighties!

“I’m so saddened by what is happening in the world with so many children affected by conflict in places such as Afghanistan and Syria; we see how hunger and climate change is impacting children in some of the poorest countries and it’s hard to believe that today, here in the south Wales valleys there are parents still struggling to feed and provide for their children.”

Save the Children exists in more than 100 countries including the UK, ensuring children are safe, healthy and are able to learn.

To support and donate to the Aberdare branch’s effort please visit:


Free parking extended in Aberdare town centre

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has confirmed it will extend current free parking arrangements in Aberdare and Pontypridd Town Centres until the end of August 2020.

Parking Aberdare
Credit: Google Maps

In response to the Coronavirus national health emergency, the local authority says no parking charges have been applied at Council-owned car parks in the two towns since the lockdown period began in mid-March 2020.

A spokesman for Rhondda Cynon Taf Council said,

“This free parking provision is aimed at supporting the local economy by increasing trade for local businesses, and therefore increasing employment within the towns. The Council also recognises there are currently a limited number of seats on public transport due to social distancing.

“The Council is encouraging residents across the County Borough to Shop Local and support those businesses that are able to be open at this time – and asking visitors to follow the markers/signage within retail areas that are promoting social distancing at all times.

“Having previously announced the free parking arrangements would last until the end of July at least, today’s announcement by the Council has confirmed it will be extended by a further month – covering the whole of August 2020.”

Aberdare Interview News

EXCLUSIVE: ‘It’s been a truly amazing experience for us all’ – Aberdare magician’s describe their Britain’s Got Talent audition

Earlier this year, James Piper and his two sons, Dylan & Joseph left the Cynon Valley and travelled to London for a magical audition on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent.

James & Dylan BGT

38-year-old James has reflected on that special moment. He also hopes to share ‘something amazing’ with the world, if they make it through to the live shows, which have been put on hold until later this year due to Covid-19.

James told Cynon Valley News,

“Britain’s Got Talent has been a truly amazing experience for us all as a family. We found out around Christmas 2019 that we were going to have an audition in front of the judges and from that point there was a mixture of emotions. We began practising every day since, until the day of the audition in January. Dylan’s twin brother, Joseph isn’t really interested in magic but I wanted to try and include him in the act because I knew that the memories of that day would stay with me forever. I wanted them both involved. He reluctantly agreed.

“In January, we set off on our journey to London, along with a few family members who came to support us. The process of trying to transport our large photo board from our home in Aberdare to the London Palladium was a trick in itself. We travelled by car, train, bus and on foot. Finally, we managed to get it there safely and in one piece.

“We were full of excitement the night before the audition. The following day, we woke early and set out for the London Palladium. I was excited and Dylan didn’t seem nervous in the slightest. He took the whole day in his stride. We arrived early and were taken to the holding room with my wife, Rebecca and Dylan’s twin brother, Joseph. It was fantastic to be in a room surrounded by the other acts, trying to guess what they may have been doing. Dylan and I spent most of the day being interviewed and they filmed the four of us walking through the streets of London. We even had tourists taking photos of us as they didn’t know whether we may have been famous. It was incredible. Around 3pm, a member of the BGT team came and told us we would be second on the stage and we were taken upstairs to prepare. As we stood backstage, Dylan, who had been full of confidence all day, began to get a little teary and said he was worried. He took himself off for a little walk and composed himself, a few minutes later returning and saying ‘we’ve got this Dad!’ I felt instant relief and knew he was going to be ok.

“We waited back stage. We were ready to go on. The sound of the buzzer echoed through the palladium, but this just made us want to do well all the more. A member of the crew took Dylan to take his place in the audience, and while Rebecca and Joseph stood side of stage, and after a brief chat with Ant and Dec, I walked out and stood on the star.

“Stood alone on stage, in a theatre of thousands, I didn’t feel in the least bit nervous, we had prepared. I was excited to share our magic with the judges, the audience and the people at home who would eventually be watching.

“The audition went better than we could have imagined, receiving two standing ovations and all four judges said yes. Stood on stage, looking out at a sea of people, including the judges, clapping and cheering was a really special moment and one that we will cherish as a family forever.

“Due to Covid-19, the live semi-finals have been put on hold until later this year. If we are lucky enough to make the live shows, we have something amazing planned that we hope the world will get to see.”

You can follow James & Dylan’s journey by following their Facebook and Instagram pages.

Pictures: ITV & James Piper

James & Dylan BGT. 2

Aberdare Rhondda Cynon Taf

Camera Assistants from Cynon win Award

Ceri Holland of Mountain Ash and Leigh Stephens from Aberdare took part in this year’s, ‘It’s my Shout’. The scheme, founded by Roger Burnell provides people with the opportunity to gain experience on a film set, working on short films and working in conjunction with several companies including the BBC. The short films are broadcast on the BBC during September.

It's my shout
Credit: It’s my Shout

Ceri & Leigh are business partners along with Jonathan Cundy from Llanelli. All three men operate as Jonathan Cundy Photography covering wedding photography & videography. They all took part in this year’s scheme to develop their camera skills.

Ceri & Leigh worked on the same film called, The Graduation, written by Claire Peate, directed by Lewis Carter & produced by Jamie Mckee. It was filmed in Ynysybwl.

Jon worked on a Welsh Language film called, Berta, which was filmed in Merthyr Tydfil.

All three men were nominated for best camera assistant, along with five other people, but Leigh & Ceri won on the night. The pair collected their awards at St. David’s Hall in Cardiff on Sunday 8th September. Their dream is to work in the television and film industry in the camera departments. Ceri, Leigh & Jon are also CAA, (Civil Aviation Authority) approved drone pilots.


Music & Magic at Museum Event

As part of their fundraising events programme, Cynon Valley Museum invites you to their unique event – Music and Magic!

Museum Magic & Music

The event is being held at Carriages, (first floor) at Coleg y Cymoedd, Aberdare Campus.

It will include a set by classical music singer Alison Shone, graduate of the Royal Academy of Music and magician, James Hawker.

It will be a chance for people to meet up, have a snack, chat and, at the same time, assist in further supporting Cynon Valley Museum Trust.

To book a ticket, please pop in to the museum, or call the number on the poster attached.

Aberdare Politics

New Chapter for Cynon Valley Museum

It’s been a special week at the museum as the First Minister visits and new LED lighting is introduced.

First & Local Ministers at CVM
First Minister, Mark Drakeford with Cynon Valley Assembly Member, Vikki Howells & Museum Manager, Charlotte Morgan. Picture Credit: Vikki Howells AM.

The First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford and Cynon Valley AM Vikki Howells were today’s special visitors to the Museum on Depot Road, Aberdare.

The museum thanked the politicians for visiting:

“We were delighted today to welcome First Minister Mark Drakeford AM to the Cynon Valley Museum alongside Vikki Howells AM to explore our wonderful museum, meet our fantastic volunteers, trustees, and staff, and talk about our mission to achieve sustainability.

Thank you for showing such a passionate interest in what we are doing, our all-encompassing definition of culture, and the amazing community we are based in.” – Cynon Valley Museum on Facebook.

In other news…

Museum 3
Copyright: Cynon Valley Museum Trust.

“The new lighting has revolutionised the visitor experience.” – CVM Manager, Charlotte Morgan.

The museum has this week seen extensive investment in their lighting. The older inefficient lights have now been replaced with brand new energy efficient LED’s. The move has been welcomed by the museum and visitors.

The manager of Cynon Valley Museum said the new lighting “reaffirms the Cynon Valley Museum Trust’s commitment to preserving and making accessible the heritage of the Cynon Valley.”

The Cynon Valley Museum Trust added their thanks to the Welsh Government, The Federation of Museums and Art Galleries of Wales for awarding the grant and to local Cynon Valley company, Westville Electrical for installation of the new lighting.

Brad Williams – Cynon Valley News


EXCLUSIVE: £1k raised in a bid to open Aberdare Splash Pad.

A local woman is raising money in a bid to reopen Aberdare Park’s abandoned swimming pool with a brand new splash pad.

Sheryll Davies, from Penywaun, has been working hard selling a range of items, of which include magnets, keyrings, pens, coasters and bookmarkers with the help of local businesses.

Aberdare Pool
The pool at Aberdare Park. Picture Credit: Aberdare Online

A grand total of £1,100 has already been raised towards the project.

Aberdare Park swimming pool was at the heart of the community right up until it’s closure in 2014.

Sheryll is passionate about the creation of the splash pad, as she enjoyed wonderful memories at the swimming pool as a child and would like today’s generation to have the opportunity to experience the same joy.

If you are interested in buying some of the items for sale you can find them at these locations:
• Welsh and Wool stall – Aberdare indoor market
• Anthony Charles hairdressers – Aberdare
• Tracey’s hairdressers – Gadlys, Aberdare
• Inkflicted tattoo parlour – Trecynon
• The Prince – Hirwaun
• Sacred Spirit – Aberdare
• Bradley’s coffee shop – Aberdare
• Penywaun Club
• Aberdare Park café
• Cobblers – Aberdare

Reporter- Amelia Tipper.

Aberdare Church School Uniform

The Uniform Exchange

A church in the Cynon Valley is helping low income families by setting up a uniform exchange which will run through the summer holidays.uniform

St Fagans Church in Aberdare has said that the donated school uniforms will be passed onto families on low income, through Mountain Ash Citizens Advice.

The church said,

“Our Uniform Exchange aims to encourage the people of RCT to recycle and donate old school uniform rather than putting it in the bin, so that other families living in the Cynon and Rhondda Valleys can benefit from their generosity.

In partnership with Trivallis and Citizens Advice Rhondda Cynon Taff, we’re running collection points for unwanted uniforms over the summer holidays, and will get them to the children who want them the most, free of charge.”

What can you donate?

You can donate any school uniform items as long as they are in good condition, with no holes, tears or stains. Please wash them first and remove any name tags if possible so they can be distributed immediately.

The uniforms can be any from RCT primary or secondary schools. The church wants your school trousers, skirts, ties, shirts, polo shirts, jumpers, cardigans, blazers, PE kits, summer dresses, shoes, coats, trainers, swimwear, football boots and bags – with school logos or without.

Unfortunately, the church can’t re-distribute uniform which has been personalised with an embroidered name.

How do you qualify for free school uniform?

There is no qualification process when requesting school uniform, it’s on a first come first served basis. You can get school uniform from:

Citizens Advice RCT, First Floor, The Library, Knight Street, Mountain Ash, CF45 3EY
Monday, 9.30 – 12.30
Tuesday, 10.00 – 15.30
Wednesday, 13.00 – 16.00
Friday, 9.30 – 12.30

Llanfair Uniting Church, Community Centre, 404-411 Heol y Waun, Penrhys CF43 3NW
Tuesday – Thursday, 9.00 – 13.00

If you can’t get to either of those locations, please contact Citizens Advice RCT on 01443 409284. You can also ring this number to check if the items you need are in stock.

All items the church receive will go through a checking process before being given back out. The aim is to send out a school uniform that’s in very good condition for a child to wear.

Where can you donate?

Bring your uniform to either of our collection points:

St Fagans Community Hall, Windsor St, Trecynon, Aberdare, CF44 8LL
Open 10am – 12noon weekdays;
9-11am Sunday mornings

Llanfair Uniting Church, Community Centre, 404-411 Heol y Waun, Penrhys CF43 3NW
Tuesday – Thursday, 9.00 – 13.00

Aberdare Politics

Cynon Valley AM welcomes new bill to ‘improve’ bus services

Assembly Member Vikki Howells has welcomed the Welsh Government’s announcement of a new Public Transport Bill which aims to ‘improve’ bus services. 

Stagecoach Bus at Aberdare Station. Picture Credit: KA Transport Photography.

The Welsh Government said the new bill announced by the First Minister Mark Drakeford would ‘reverse some of the negative impacts of de-regulation by enabling local authorities to franchise or run bus services directly.’

Cynon Valley AM, Vikki Howells said,

“I am particularly pleased that we will see a new Bill that will work to underdo the damage caused by de-regulation of bus services, which has failed so many people living in Cynon Valley. People want bus services that are designed around local need and not shareholder dividend, and that is what this Bill will deliver.”

The news comes after the Vikki Howells told Brad Williams at Cynon Valley News back in May she still stands by her claim “public transport here in the valleys is simply not up to scratch.”

She added that change can’t happen overnight but she’s confident that we will see a change in the coming years.

Vikki & Brad
Brad Williams & Vikki Howells interview for Cynon Valley News.