The refurbishment of the Pontypridd YMCA has been given the final go-ahead after the Council’s Cabinet approved funding for the project, which will also benefit from more than £2m from the Arts Council of Wales.

Cabinet has agreed for the Council to take ownership of the YMCA building and invest an extra £383,000 into its redevelopment – to secure a total of more than £4m external funding, including £2.28m by the Arts Council of Wales, and ensure work can start in early 2020.

A report to Cabinet on Tuesday, December 17, recommended that Cabinet Members agree the additional investment, which would complete the £4.48m funding package for the project. It also recommended that Cabinet Members authorise the Council taking ownership of the Taff Street building, and lease it back to the YMCA over a period of 99 years – with a review of the arrangements in 25 years.

Benefitting from £2.28m Arts Council of Wales investment, the ambitious redevelopment plans will bring the historic 1910 local venue back into use for the benefit for the community. The project will see a complete refurbishment of the building, with the much-loved Shelley Hall at its heart. A number of community spaces will also be provided for the availability of local groups.

Cabinet agreed with the recommendations of the report, and work is now anticipated to get underway next month. The scheme is due for completion in mid-2021, with Knox & Wells the appointed contractor and the plans drawn up by Capita. The completed building will be run by Artis Community on behalf of Pontypridd YMCA.

Councillor Robert Bevan, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Enterprise, Development and Housing, said: “I’m very pleased that Cabinet has agreed for the Council to take ownership of the Pontypridd YMCA building, and further invest £383,000 to make this £4.48m project a reality. It is a very ambitious project that will revitalise the YMCA building, which holds such a prominent and important place within the history of Pontypridd.

“The new-look YMCA will focus on promoting the arts, while continuing its traditional role in bringing people together, as it has for many generations in the past. It is very exciting that works will begin on site during the New Year.

“Pontypridd is one of the Council’s five Strategic Opportunity Areas, identified for its huge potential for economic growth. These are exciting times for the town, with the YMCA project a stone’s throw from the office-led mixed use development, Llys Cadwyn, on the Taff Vale site – due for completion in 2020.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the YMCA making similar progress throughout next year, and for the Council to work closely with Arts Council of Wales and the Pontypridd YMCA to make this ambitious project a reality.”

Nick Capaldi, Chief Executive of Arts Council of Wales, added: “Arts Council of Wales is delighted to be supporting the important redevelopment of this historic building. The goal of this project is to make a difference to people’s lives through taking part in high quality arts experiences, and given the synergies with Artis Community’s objectives, this project will enable the organisation to offer even more than it does now.

“The YM is a special place for many people in Pontypridd and we look forward to seeing this tradition continue as a new generation enjoys a wide range of activity.”

Chair of Pontypridd YMCA, Kay Walters, said: “We’re so grateful to both Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and the Arts Council of Wales for breathing new life into Pontypridd’s historic YMCA building. This huge investment will enable us to reopen a building which has played an important part in Pontypridd’s rich social and cultural history, and we know the YM has an important place in people’s hearts.

“As we renew Pontypridd YMCA, we’ll build on the values it has historically upheld. It will be a place where social, creative and educational opportunities are available to people of all ages. It will provide a stage for smaller-scale events as we reopen Shelley Hall, complementing other provision in the area.

“Our plans for the Pontypridd YMCA are based on partnership, and we will look to work with other organisations in the area to give them a wonderful and modern platform for their work.  We will continue to engage with all parts of our community about how this facility can meet their needs and wishes.”

Regular updates can be found on the Redevelopment Blog.