This one-year project is developing on the existing services as well as some new activities offered at Gwynfi Miners Community Hall in the Afan Valley in Wales.

Four older people having a chat

Aber and Blaengwynfi are twin villages in the Afan valley in Wales with a population of around 1,300. Due to its rural location residents have faced issues with social isolation, access to public services, and access to fun and educational activities. Gwynfi Miners Community Hall is entirely grant funded and is the only community organisation providing support in the area.

The Building Happy, Integrated, Healthy Communities project which is funded by People’s Health Trust continues the work of the organisation by expanding on the activities delivered. Through this project staff and volunteers have also been able to respond directly to residents’ needs as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A befriending service, book delivery service, and a food bank, are some of the ways residents have been supported. With the nearest town seven miles away the services were essential in supporting older residents who were cut off from support during the pandemic.

Their other activities include a rambling club, a Men's Shed (a space for craftwork and social interaction), a junior cinema, and African drumming workshops. The intention is to utilise the community hall, its outside spaces, and a local school's games area and, at the same time, to reduce isolation among the community.

The project will continue delivering and responding to residents’ need. A ‘Walk and Talk’ group was set up as poor mental health increased over the past two years and is likely to increase even further with the cost of living crisis.

It's a really hard job but it’s also very rewarding. We’ve taken a burden off the NHS and helped changed people’s lives at a time that has been difficult for everyone.

Simon Matthews

Community group leader

Funded by People’s Health Trust using money raised by Health Lottery Wales