A range of sports groups and clubs across Merthyr Tydfil are benefitting from a series of grants from the Ffos-y-fran Intermediate Fund.
Almost £15,000 was recently awarded to projects increasing the opportunities in the county borough for taking part in running, cycling, swimming, triathlon and disability sport.
Local swimming should see an upturn in both participation and performance as the result of a £4,988 Ffos-y-fran award to purchase equipment to help swimmers and coaches improve their training techniques and coaching.
Merthyr Tydfil Swimming Club’s Equal Footing project will see the club buy a set of six diving boards, lane ropes, an underwater camera and laptop. The ‘much-needed’ resources will allow young people to study swimming/stroke techniques, gain in confidence and develop further in the sport, as well as encouraging new members.
The swimming club is well established and has an active membership of around 100 children and young people who use the pools at Merthyr Leisure Centre and at Aberfan Community Centre.
“The resources we want to provide for young people in the club will enable them to have the opportunity to enhance their sporting achievement so they’ll be on an equal footing with other young people they swim against, both locally and nationally,”
said Secretary Janice Watkins.
Ffos-y-fran funding of £5,000 will also support the launch a range of new disability-specific sporting opportunities, including social 5-a-side football, family engagement sessions and ‘physical literacy’ projects to build fundamental physical skills.
The Disability Sport Merthyr Forum development is aimed at supporting disabled people to be more active. The project will allow them to take part in weekly activities including football at the Gôl Centre in Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Village and physical literacy and family multisports sessions at venues to be confirmed.in the near future.
The Forum is made up of 13 individuals with a range of disabilities, who work alongside the County Borough Council’s Sports Development team. The group discovered there was a particular need for more local activities for people aged over 16 with disabilities.
The grant will also help provide coaching education, mainly for volunteers and Forum members to ensure the project is sustainable, but also to support disabled people to coach and volunteer in sport.
The increasingly popular annual Merthyr Tydfil Stride and Ride Festival has been awarded £5,000 for essential equipment to help with its smooth running, including a start and finish gantry, PA system and digital race clock.
The festival is organised by Merthyr Tydfil Stride and Ride Forum, which comprises members of 10 local walking, running, cycling and triathlon clubs whose aim is helping people get more active and encouraging them to use the ‘fantastic trails and green spaces at our disposal’.
Next June will see the third weeklong Stride and Ride event, which is being held between the 22 and 29. Throughout the rest of the year, the equipment will also be used by all member groups for their own specific activities, saving them significant money on rental.
The Ffos-y-fran Intermediate Grants Scheme offers grants up to £5,000 for projects that help create a ‘strong, sustainable and diverse economy’, support people in developing new skills to maximise their potential, and contributes to making Merthyr Tydfil a more ‘vibrant, attractive, safe and sustainable place’ to live.
The programme was established by Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council in collaboration with Merthyr (South Wales) Limited, which donates £1 for every ton of coal sold from the Ffos-y-fran land reclamation scheme.
Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Public Protection Cllr Geraint Thomas said:
“We’re delighted to be able to administer the Ffos-y-fran Community Benefit Fund, which has contributed to a broad range of worthwhile projects, giving local groups the chance to obtain money they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.
“We’re very proud of our famous sporting heritage in Merthyr Tydfil,”
“We’re grateful that this funding is allowing volunteers to help our current sports stars continue to develop, while also encouraging those who have not yet tried their hand at an activity the opportunity to do so.”