Full steam ahead for Glan Afan centre project

Viva Port Talbot has hit the ground running in 2022 as work on the new Glan Afan business centre kicks into high gear.

This week, we welcomed our new High Street Centre Manager, Laura Jenkins, who will be taking charge of the Glan Afan centre project. Laura has a strong background in the business support sector, having worked on various schemes such as Business Wales, Big Ideas Wales and Start Up Loans in her 16 years’ worth of experience.

In March 2021, Viva Port Talbot partnered with Coastal Housing Group and were successful with our application to the Welsh Government’s Big Lottery Coastal Communities Fund, which encourages the economic development of coastal communities in Wales by giving funding to create sustainable economic growth and jobs. We were awarded £220,000 from the fund, which will see new life breathed into the old Glan Afan comprehensive school building as it is transformed into a high street business hub.

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 bring new business into the town centre. There will also be a brand-new eco-friendly delivery service based at the hub, available for free to town centre businesses. A full programme of business events is in the works ready for the centre’s grand opening in the early summer.

Honorary president of Viva Port Talbot, Stephen Kinnock MP, is a strong supporter of the project: “Coastal Housing and Viva Port Talbot’s Business Improvement District new Glan Afan Centre will be transformational for the Town Centre. The project led by the hard-working Mandy Jenkins will provide a boost to our high street, regenerating business in the area while ensuring the preservation of an iconic local landmark. I’m sure Laura will be a valued addition to the team.”

Renovation work on the building is due to start in the coming weeks, with the fit-out also part-funded by the South West Wales Place Making Grant, part of the Welsh Government’s Transforming Towns Programme.

Transforming Towns was launched by the Welsh Government in January 2020 to address the decline in town and city centres and the reduced demand for high street retail. The focus of the programme is sustainable growth of towns and cities, and their transformation into places of living, working, learning and leisure.

Projects funded by the Transforming Towns include interventions such as the refurbishment and repurposing of empty and derelict buildings; new build projects; improving biodiversity through green infrastructure; and improvements to public spaces, all in aid of boosting the variety of services on offer in towns, create flexible working and living space, and increasing access to services and leisure.

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