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Fire crews battle large fire on mountainside for almost three hours

Fire fighters dealt with a large fire on a mountainside in the Cynon Valley .

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service were called to the blaze in Cwmbach, near Aberdare , at 6.01pm on Wednesday.

Five hectares of grass on the mountainside was alight and smoke engulfed the surrounding area.
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A spokeswoman from the fire service said that three appliances from Aberdare fire station were at the scene battling the fire. They received a stop message at 8.53pm when the fire was extinguished

At this stage it is unknown what has caused the blaze.


A family say they 'could end up on the streets' as a result of the Mountain Ash cross valley link

Vickie Miles has been told by the council she must leave her home, but the only option she was given isn't suitable for her health condition

A Cynon Valley family say they are being moved out of their home and may end up on the streets as part of plans to build the new Mountain Ash cross valley link road.

Vickie Miles lives at the house on Miskin Cottages with her son and daughter, but has been told by the council it must now be knocked down.

That’s to make way for the plans which will see a bridge built over the Aberdare to Cardiff railway line and the River Cynon, from the Cwm Cynon Industrial Estate to Miskin Road.

Vickie said the family have been given one single alternative in Trecynon, but that it is not suitable for her or son Luke, 23, due to their condition of health.

Vickie, 40, has epilepsy and mitochondrial disease, while Luke has Asperger’s, and she said the alternative home simply isn’t fit for them as it’s too far from their support circles.

She explained: “I feel as if we are being made to move into a property and I feel like I am being pushed out of the way and forgotten about.”

It all started in February, when Vickie was shocked to be told she had just two months to move out of her house, after the council bought it from her landlord.

Vickie has lived there for seven years, and so was disappointed by the news, particularly after what she thought was an understanding she would have 18 months’ or two years’ notice to leave her home.

So Vickie went to the offices of Rhondda Cynon Taf council , where they offered her the other property, but she immediately told them it was not suitable.

That was because her condition causes her muscle weakness and seizures, and getting to and from her support circles would mean walking distances to and from the bus stop, something she is not able to do.
The house is one of two to be demolished for the new road

She also has concerns that she “can’t sit very well” due to her epilepsy, and so could suffer from seizures on a bus.

Since then, she has not been offered an alternative by the local authority and said she has been left in limbo.

She explained: “I just couldn’t live there. I would be a recluse. There’s no way I could take that property. They have had eight weeks to sort this out, but nothing. It’s either that or we could end up on the streets, it looks like.

“Since not hearing anything more, I have been getting more and more anxious because the time was ticking down. Nothing is happening.”

It comes after the cross valley link - a huge project providing a new link for traffic travelling on the A4059 and B4275 came a step closer to completion in March, after planners gave it the go ahead.

It’s hoped it will ease congestion in and around Mountain Ash, as well as on the A4059 - the Cynon Valley’s major artery road, but has meant Vickie and one other family have been forced to leave their home.

The other family has already left, and the deadline for Vickie was April 19, but she is still living there, and says the uncertainty is causing a lot of stress.
Vickie has been offered one other option, but that house is "unsuitable"

“My son is taking it very badly and has had breakdowns. He needs to have clear, concise vision of what he’s doing. I have had several seizures myself because of it.

“So this whole situation is detrimental to my health. All they tell me when I speak to them is that they have offered me somewhere but I just can’t take that property. They are not listening to me and so I am in limbo. It’s awful. I’m not eating or sleeping.

“I just want to be in a place close to my support circles where I can stay and not be moved about. I’m not asking for much.”

A spokesman for the council said: “Rhondda Cynon Taf council is committed to delivering the much-needed Mountain Ash Cross Valley Link which, when completed, will significantly reduce congestion on the A4059 for the benefit of Cynon Valley residents and visitors. Planning permission has been granted for the project and works are progressing with an anticipated completion date of 2019/20.

“The council is in the process of completing the purchase of this property to facilitate delivery of this vital transport project, having agreed terms with the land owner.

“Officers have been working with Ms Miles to secure for her alternative suitable accommodation.

“Having rejected the offer of a property which was identified based on preferences outlined by Ms Miles, council officers are continuing to work with Ms Miles to secure suitable accommodation.”


Three Cynon Valley youth clubs close leaving young people with nowhere to go

The services in Perthcelyn, Penrhiwceiber and Bryncynon all suddenly closed with "little to no information" given

More than 50 young people in Mountain Ash have been affected by the three youth club closures

Youth clubs that provided vital help for deprived young people in the Cynon Valley have been closed until further notice, leaving them with nowhere to go.

The services, Perthcelyn, Penrhiwceiber and Bryncynon, all suddenly closed, with “little to no information” given to the people who rely on them, and no alternatives offered.

The clubs, which are all around the Mountain Ash area, provided food, activities including cookery and sport, and counselling for young people, including those in poverty.

Kelsey Stevens, a Cynon Valley youth worker, said the manner in which the centres were shut was “terrible”.

She said: “The young people around here are really vulnerable – we have seen kids who haven’t eaten for two days at times – it’s unbelievable. There’s absolutely nowhere for them to go and it’s as if they don’t even matter.

“I find it almost impossible to comprehend how someone somewhere has been able to close these provisions without any discussion. The very same people who say the youth are the future are stripping away their forms of support, activity and informal education.”

According to Ms Stevens, Perthcelyn and Penrhiwceiber have in the past been identified as areas with the highest rate of poverty in RCT and Wales, and Bryncynon as an area with many children in need.

The services, which supported people between the ages of 11 and 25 at Perthcelyn Community Centre, Penrhiwceiber Hall and Bryncynon Healthy Living Centre, were due to close around the end of March or April, with no alternative provision announced for the young people attending them up to three times a week.

But to make matters worse, two of the clubs were closed around six weeks earlier, with Perthcelyn and Penrhiwceiber having shut their doors on February 14 without notice, and Bryncynon closing around a month later.

Ms Stevens said the young people were “devastated” at the news, and that many of the 50-plus it will affect, rely on it.

She added: “We have still not heard a reason as to why they were closed a month and a half before they were supposed to, which has really left us up in the air.

“There’s a massive need for support for young people in this area, they looked to us for support in all different kinds of ways. Many of them are now wandering the streets instead.”

She said it is believed part of the reason for the closures is due to the fact that Communities First – the anti-poverty programme – has been killed off by the Welsh Government .

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “We have taken steps to mitigate the impact of closing Communities First. These include continuing funding the programme at 70% levels for a further year, providing an additional £4m in capital funding and introducing a £6m legacy fund to enable some of the most successful projects to be maintained from 2018.

“It is for the local authority or the lead delivery body to decide how to use this funding.”

A spokesman from the Bryncynon Strategy, which runs the Bryncynon club, said the decision to close until further notice was a “difficult” one.

He added: “This decision has been taken due to the continuing uncertainty over future available funding. Without this funding, we are not able to provide high quality youth provision required by children and young people in the Valley.”

He emphasised that the centre did not provide food as part of its service, adding: “Bryncynon Strategy is committed to ensuring that the young people of the Lower Cynon Valley receive youth provision that reflects the highest quality standards. It is our aim to review the lessons of the current youth project and work with partners to offer youth provision that meets the needs of local young people.”

A spokeswoman for Rhondda Cynon Taf council said its funding had “no bearing” on the withdrawal of the services, but that work was “ongoing” to restore the provision.
Millions of pounds have been pumped into deprived areas through the Communities First scheme

She explained: “For a number of years, youth services in these areas have been provided by the Bryncynon Strategy on behalf of Communities First.

“Following a meeting held in February to discuss concerns raised locally regarding the provision, Communities First was informed by the Bryncynon Strategy that they would no longer be able to provide the service.

“Unfortunately Communities First was not given sufficient notice to secure alternative provision before the Bryncynon Strategy withdrew its services but the council has since been in discussions with other potential providers to put in place alternative arrangements for young people in the area. Council officers have also been in contact with individuals affected to explain what is being done to reintroduce provision in these areas as quickly as possible.”

In response to the closures, the Cynon Valley Youth Campaign has been set up to fight for the clubs to reopen, or for alternative services to be provided, and so far has around 80 likes on Facebook.

It comes after Plaid Cymru and Mountain Ash councillor Pauline Jarman accused Rhondda Cynon Taf council of “burying” in a document on its website the news Communities First would be axed.

She said: “It would appear the labour council have taken a political decision to make as little fuss as possible over a decision that will have major implications for our poorest communities. Perhaps they are trying to avoid embarrassing their labour party colleagues down the bay for axing Communities First but the people deserve to know about this.”

Responding, council leader Andrew Morgan said the decision had “not in any way been buried”.

He said the local authority’s approach to Communities First’s legacy will seek to protect frontline staff, and a £6m fund will be introduced.

Speaking about the document announcing the decision, he said: “The report makes clear the arrangements we have set in place to ensure the valuable work undertaken through the programme can continue in 2017/18 through a phased transitional plan and we have worked closely with voluntary sector organisations to identify changes to their services with the minimum impact on frontline services where possible.”

Charity Sevens Tournament
Abercwmboi are organising a Charity 7s Tournament on Saturday July 1st,
Everyone is welcome and it is to raise funds for Wish Upon a Star and Noah's Arc Children's Hospital! Please come along and support.
There will be a DJ through the day and a singer on in the evening as well as food being served! Should be a great occasion and some local and competitive teams playing!
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