We’re incredibly excited to announce that we’ve been awarded £220,000 from the Welsh Government’s Big Lottery Coastal Communities Fund, which we’ll be using to turn the old Glan Afan school building into a business hub! The successful application to the fund is the result of a partnership between Viva Port Talbot and Coastal Housing Group.
Roger Williams, Chair of Viva Port Talbot said: “This funding will be used to create a hub for businesses and retail, to drive more footfall into the town centre and support levy paying BID member businesses who want to adopt new technologies around digitalisation, click and collect, and home delivery. It will also enable us to create job opportunities and house business advice services for our members.”
The Welsh Government Coastal Communities Fund encourages the economic development of coastal communities in Wales by giving funding to create sustainable economic growth and jobs.
The project will concentrate on providing accessible facilities in the heart of the centre. With the future of the iconic Glan Afan building secured through a sensitive renovation by Coastal Housing, this joint project will mean that this beautiful and historic building will continue to play an important part in the life of the town. The hub will provide meeting and co-working spaces on a bookable basis, as well as offering slots for market stalls and pop-ups to help new businesses. There will also be a delivery service for local residents and businesses.
Mandy Jenkins, Viva Port Talbot Manager said: “We are looking forward to receiving enquiries from local start-ups and businesses already operating here to help inform how the hub can best strengthen the centre’s performance.”
Although our programme has been disrupted by the pandemic, work has carried on behind the scenes. The award of this grant has almost doubled the amount of investment we will make in the town centre over our first five-year lifetime.
Debbie Green, Chief Executing of Coastal Housing said: “We are really pleased that by working in partnership with Viva Port Talbot, the former Glan Afan School will be reimagined as a vibrant hub that will support local businesses and help the Town Centre to come back to life post-Covid.”
Aberavon MP and Viva Port Talbot Honorary President Stephen Kinnock said: “This success story once again underlines the incredibly active and high impact role that our Business Improvement District - Viva Port Talbot - is playing in our community and our high street. And I’m delighted to see such a significant investment into Port Talbot town centre. This fantastic project is a great chance for one of Port Talbot’s most iconic buildings to become a key part of an exciting future for the town. A hub like this will be a wonderful way to attract new business and footfall into Port Talbot and I will do everything I can to ensure its success.”