A social enterprise in Ton Pentre has received backing from Communities 2.0, the Welsh Government’s digital inclusion programme. The support will complement a package of investment that will see the Phoenix Centre reopen in February 2014 as a state-of-the-art digital cinema.
Communities 2.0 has supported The Phoenix Centre (Ton Pentre Workingmen’s Hall & Institute) with an investment of over £1,000, which will help ensure that the social enterprise has the correct ICT equipment for admin and for undertaking digital marketing. It has also provided technical expertise and advice to the social enterprise. Communities 2.0 is a Welsh Government programme which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
Ton Pentre Workingmen's Hall & Institute is a Grade II listed building originally built in 1895 from subscriptions from the Maindy and Eastern collieries. It originally comprised of a library, news room and theatre. In 1908 the hall was rented out to a private company for showing early silent movies and in 1931 it was upgraded to allow the playing of 'talkies'. It continues as a cinema to this day.
The building is owned by Rhonnda Community Development Association, a registered charity. Rhondda Community Development Business Initiative Ltd (RCBI) is a social enterprise that operates the cinema and theatre activity on a day to day basis. The Centre has also been successful in obtaining funding from Rhondda Cynon Taff CBC, Arts Council of Wales and the Coalfields Regeneration Trust to help refurbish the auditorium which is also used as theatre. All building activities are promoted under the 'Phoenix Centre' brand.
Neal Hammond is the Phoenix Centre’s Community Development Worker,
“This investment will help us work towards a sustainable future for the Phoenix Centre in line with the aims and objectives of the original trustees of the Hall and Institute. We are grateful to Communities 2.0 and Welsh Government for providing training and upgraded ICT support”.
Communities 2.0 project director Cathryn Marcus commented:
“Communities 2.0 is delighted to be able to add its support to these exciting new developments for The Phoenix Centre. The Centre is an important focus for community activity in Ton Pentre and the redevelopment of the cinema should ensure it continues to operate in a sustainable manner”.
This investment is just part of a total of over £75,000 invested across Wales as part of this round of Communities 2.0 funding. To date over £540,000 has been approved for direct investment in social enterprises and micro businesses in Wales, supporting 100 enterprises.
In addition, Communities 2.0 has supported 267 enterprises with significant assistance and advice for adopting or exploiting Information Communication Technology. Over 330 community groups and organisations have also benefitted from significant assistance and advice from the project, many of whom have used this to inform the creation of new social enterprises.
Communities 2.0 is a Welsh Government programme and is part of the Delivering a Digital Wales strategy. Communities 2.0 is delivered by four partner organisations – the Wales Co-operative Centre, Pembrokeshire Association of Voluntary Services, Carmarthenshire County Council and the George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling (University of South Wales). Communities 2.0 works in the Convergence area of Wales and parts of Wrexham, Flintshire and Powys, helping communities and small enterprises to make the most of the internet.www.communities2point0.org