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Cwmbran day centre awarded £100,000 lottery grant

a group of people at a cheque presentation
Staff, volunteers, guests and users celebrate the £100,000 grant (Photo: Cwmbran Life)

Staff, volunteers and users from a day centre in Cwmbran are celebrating after being awarded a £99,970 grant from the National Lottery Community Fund.

Able in Upper Cwmbran started in 2006 with a radio station and has been broadcasting programmes made and presented by people with disabilities ever since. It now offers a range of other services including an allotment project.

The grant has been given to transform their radio and podcast facilities. It will be used to build two new studios and fund a station manager and support worker. At last Friday’s cheque presentation ceremony. Shaun O’Dwyer, managing director of Able, told the room packed with guests it would mean more opportunities to “upskill supported people” and produce “better quality audio and shows”.

Cwmbran Life asked Shaun how it felt to see the email confirming that their grant application was successful. He said: “It was amazing. It was very hard not to share with everyone straight away. You open that email and see the words ‘successful’. You drop what you doing because you’re in disbelief. The amount of work that goes into these grants, it’s time and evenings and weekends sat at the computer.” He thanks Simon Harvey, Able’s head of media, for his work on completing the grant application.

Paul Rogers, a volunteer on the radio station, said their current kit does “crash” sometimes so the grant will make a big difference: “It’s definitely going to help us get some new equipment in and update it all.”

Christopher Ward travels on three buses from Cardiff to volunteer at the station. He said: “It’s friendship and being able to use my voice on the radio.”

Nick Thomas-Symonds, Torfaen MP, said: “It was fantastic to attend Able Radio’s announcement of securing nearly £100,000 for their facility in Upper Cwmbran. The grant will help purchase new equipment for their radio station as well as upskilling staff. Thank you to Able Radio staff, Torfaen Voluntary Alliance, and the National Lottery who have worked so hard to secure this. It was great to see first-hand just how much this will mean to those who attend Able Radio.”

Laura Anne Jones, MS for South Wales East, said: “There is so much going on at the centre, so many opportunities to learn new skills and prepare for a more independent life – like cooking, gardening, drama, running a shop, yoga and of course the radio station – it was great to see. I was lucky enough to be given some of the produce made from the vegetables and fruit that they grow themselves in their garden project, started during the pandemic, which they sell in their shop ‘SustainABLE’ on site and in some local stores.

“The main thing I will take away from the visit is that everyone was so happy.

“We really need to look after, help and build on the best practice, which is clearly being shown by Able, and copy what is going on here and share it with the rest of Wales.”

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Cwmbran day centre awarded £100,000 lottery grant