Tag Archives: cylch cymreig

The Muni Arts Centre: An asset transfer driven by the community

The closure of the Muni Arts Centre in Pontypridd prompted an outcry, which in turn prompted a community led bid to take it over. Dyfrig Williams visited the thriving centre to find out how it’s progressed since the asset transfer.

Chris Bolton wrote a post a while back about how annoying your citizens can lead to community action. It’s a thought-provoking read about how closing a community asset can lead to a strong public response, and that public services can build on the strength of this reaction.

It was fascinating to see how that has happened at the Muni Arts Centre, where a grass roots campaign to save the centre and develop it sprung from the decision to close its doors by the council.

Background

The Muni Arts Centre

The Muni Arts Centre

There was a huge outcry when the decision was made to discontinue the Muni Centre from council cultural services. 150 people attended a consultation event on the future of the building in the space of a couple of hours. A number of groups wanted to make sure it stayed open, and a number of companies expressed an interest in making the building a base for their business. Artis Community, Pontypridd Town Council, Cylch Cymreig and the Coalfields Regeneration Trust came together as the Muni Working Group and quickly formed the newly incorporated Muni Arts Centre Limited. They built on their similarities and strengths to develop the bid, which is remarkably similar to the Assets Based Community Development approach on the Nurture Development site that Chris references in his blog.

In terms of building on the strengths within the community, there’s no better place to start than with the board itself. Taking control of a building like the Muni is a huge responsibility, but the Muni’s board members are well placed to do so and to put strong governance processes in place. Jon Huish, a former councillor, has a great understanding of council processes and the public sector. Alun Taylor of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust specialises in governance. Rob Hughes, the Chair of Cylch Cymreig, runs a festival in Ynys-y-Bwl, and Gethin Williams, Chief Executive of the Town Council is also a Solicitor. Wendy York, the Chief Executive of Artis Community was responsible for much of the groundwork, has extensive experience of the arts and strong voluntary sector networks.

The council faced criticism from the community over its initial decision, and the asset transfers it had previously dealt with were on a much smaller scale. They were clear that they wanted to help the process and created an enabling grant fund. They took a risk in choosing to transfer the asset to the community, when a private sector development would have clear commercial benefits. It’s an example of decision making that focuses on the long term, and it’s the kind of approach that public services will have to show has been considered under the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act.

The community

With such a strong board, it would be easy for them to do what many other organisations have done over the years and use their own individual visions as a roadmap for the Muni. But the business case was based on the vision of the 150 people who attended the consultation event. It is rooted in the community, with the Muni as a hub for the regeneration for the wider area and the arts’ place within it.

A photo of the Think Food Life café inside the Muni

The Think Food Life café at the Muni

The café at the Muni is a social enterprise called Think Food Life, which focuses on people’s health and wellbeing by providing nutritional food. It’s the first café in Pontypridd that can cater for specific dietary requirements, and it aims for 80% of its food to come from local sources. There was interest from Merthyr and Valleys Mind to set up an allotment to provide vegetables for the Muni, and the idea was strengthened by the Muni Project veteran’s group, who proposed work on garden land at the Muni with potential support from the allotments society. The Muni has received funding from the Armed Forces Community Covenant Grant as the recruitment centre used to be next door, which provides opportunities for veterans to take part in the Muni’s work, be it through volunteering or directly in the arts.

A Fit for Life project will also look to connect health and fitness work to the nutritional focus of the café, which shows how the Muni is looking to go beyond a strictly arts focus and be a hub for the entire community. The Muni is also looking at bringing organisations together at a strategic level to enable people to do more for themselves through working with Pontypridd YMCA and the development of the Courthouse, which will support the startup and growth of social enterprise.

Passion

This all shows what is possible when projects are based on the passion and talent of the community. The building itself is really impressive, just like the drive and determination of the board and the community members who’ve put in such incredible effort to make the project a success. If you’re looking to transfer an asset to the community, it’s worth asking how can you genuinely work with the community and build on their strengths?

Canolfan Gelf y Miwni: Trosglwyddiad ased a gafodd ei sbarduno gan y gymuned

Fe wnaeth y penderfyniad i gau Canolfan Gelf y Miwni ym Mhontypridd achosi protest mawr, a wnaeth hyn yn ei dro sbarduno’r gymuned i gymryd dros yr adeilad. Aeth Dyfrig Williams i’r ganolfan i ffeindio allan sut mae’r ganolfan wedi datblygu ers i’r ased cael ei drosglwyddo.

Ysgrifennodd Chris Bolton blogbost sbel yn ôl am sut all cythruddo eich dinasyddion arwain at weithredu cymunedol. Mae’n darn pryfoclyd am sut all cau ased cymunedol arwain at ymateb cryf o’r cyhoedd, a sut gall gwasanaethau cyhoeddus adeiladu ar gryfder yr ymateb yma.

Clywais am sut mae hynny wedi digwydd yng Nghanolfan Gelf y Miwni, lle wnaeth ymgyrch ar lawr gwlad i achub a datblygu’r ganolfan deillio o’r penderfyniad i gau’r adeilad gan y cyngor.

Cefndir

Llun o Ganolfan Celfyddydau'r Miwni

Canolfan Celfyddydau’r Miwni

Roedd protestiadau anferth pan wnaeth gwasanaethau diwylliannol y cyngor penderfynu roi’r gorau i Ganolfan y Miwni. Aeth 150 o bobl i ddigwyddiad ymgynghori ar ddyfodol yr adeilad mewn cwpl o oriau. Roedd nifer o grwpiau yn awyddus i wneud yn siŵr bod y ganolfan yn aros ar agor, a mynegodd nifer o gwmnïau ddiddordeb mewn prynu’r adeilad ar gyfer eu busnes. Daeth Artis Cymuned, Cyngor Tref Pontypridd, Cylch Cymreig ac Ymddiriedolaeth Adfywio’r Meysydd Glo gyda’i gilydd fel Gweithgor y Miwni a wnaethant ffurfio Ganolfan Gelf y Miwni Cyf. yn gyflym. Maent yn adeiladu ar eu cryfderau i ddatblygu’r cais, sy’n hynod o debyg i’r dull Datblygu Cymunedol sy’n Seiliedig ar Asedau ar wefan Nurture Development a wnaeth Chris cyfeirio ato yn ei flog.

Does dim lle gwell i ddechrau o ran adeiladu ar gryfderau’r gymuned na’r bwrdd ei hun. Roedd cymryd rheolaeth o adeilad fel y Miwni yn gyfrifoldeb enfawr, ond roedd aelodau’r bwrdd mewn sefyllfa dda i wneud hynny ac i roi prosesau llywodraethu cadarn mewn lle. Mae Jon Huish yn gyn-gynghorydd ac mae ganddo ddealltwriaeth grêt o brosesau’r cyngor a’r sector cyhoeddus. Mae Alun Taylor o Ymddiriedolaeth Adfywio’r Meysydd Glo yn arbenigo mewn llywodraethu. Mae Rob Hughes, Cadeirydd y Cylch Cymreig, yn rhedeg gŵyl yn Ynysybwl, ac mae Gethin Williams, Prif Weithredwr y Cyngor Tref hefyd yn Gyfreithiwr. Mae gan Wendy York, Prif Weithredwr Artis Cymuned, a oedd yn gyfrifol am lawer o’r gwaith sylfaenol, lot o brofiad o’r celfyddydau a rhwydweithiau cryf yn y sector gwirfoddol.

Wynebodd y cyngor beirniadaeth o’r gymuned dros ei benderfyniad, ac roedd y trosglwyddiad o asedau blaenorol wedi bod ar raddfa lot llai. Roeddent yn glir bod nhw eisiau helpu’r broses a wnaethant greu cronfa grant i alluogi hyn. Fe wnaethon nhw gymryd risg wrth ddewis i drosglwyddo’r ased i’r gymuned, pan fyddai datblygiad sector preifat wedi cael manteision masnachol clir. Mae hyn yn enghraifft o wneud penderfyniadau sy’n canolbwyntio ar yr hirdymor, a bydd rhaid i wasanaethau cyhoeddus datblygu’r math yma o feddylfryd wrth iddynt gyflawni ei gwaith o dan Ddeddf Lles Cenedlaethau’r Dyfodol.

Y gymuned

Achos bod ganddynt fwrdd cryf, byddai’n hawdd gwneud beth mae llawer o sefydliadau eraill wedi ei wneud dros y blynyddoedd a defnyddio eu gweledigaethau eu hunain fel cynllun am y Miwni. Ond mae achos busnes y Ganolfan yn seiliedig ar weledigaeth y 150 o bobl a daeth i’r digwyddiad ymgynghori. Mae ei gwreiddiau yn y gymuned, ac mae’r Miwni yn edrych i fod y canolbwynt ar gyfer adfywio’r ardal ehangach a lle’r celfyddydau o fewn hynny.

Ffoto o Gaffi Think Food Life yn y Miwni

Caffi Think Food Life yn y Miwni

Mae caffi’r Miwni yn fenter gymdeithasol o’r enw Think Food Life, sy’n canolbwyntio ar iechyd a lles pobl drwy cynnig bwyd maethlon. Y caffi yw’r un cyntaf ym Mhontypridd sy’n gwerthu bwyd ar gyfer anghenion deietegol penodol, ac mae’n anelu i gael 80% o’i bwyd o ffynonellau lleol. Roedd diddordeb gan Mind Merthyr a’r Cymoedd i sefydlu rhandir i dyfu llysiau ar gyfer y Miwni, a chafodd y syniad ei gryfhau wrth i grŵp Prosiect Cyn-filwyr y Miwni. Fe wnaethon nhw cynnig gweithio ar dir yn y Miwni, ac mae yna gefnogaeth posibl o’r gymdeithas rhandiroedd. Mae’r Miwni wedi derbyn cyllid o Grant Cyfamod Cymunedol y Lluoedd Arfog achos roedd y ganolfan recriwtio arfer bod drws nesaf. Mae hyn yn rhoi’r cyfle i gyn-filwyr i gymryd rhan yng ngwaith y Miwni trwy wirfoddoli neu trwy weithio’n uniongyrchol yn y celfyddydau.

Bydd prosiect Addas am Oes hefyd yn edrych i gysylltu gwaith iechyd a ffitrwydd i waith y caffi, sy’n dangos sut mae’r Miwni yn edrych i fynd y tu hwnt i’r celfyddydau ac i fod yn ganolbwynt i’r gymuned gyfan. Mae’r Miwni hefyd yn edrych ar ddod â sefydliadau at ei gilydd ar lefel strategol i alluogi pobl i wneud mwy drostynt eu hunain trwy weithio gyda YMCA Pontypridd a datblygiad y Courthouse, a fydd yn cefnogi’r proses dechreuol a thwf mentrau cymdeithasol.

Angerdd

Mae hyn i gyd yn dangos beth sy’n bosib pan mae prosiectau yn seiliedig ar angerdd a thalent y gymuned. Mae’r adeilad ei hun yn wirioneddol drawiadol, yn union fel egni ac ymdrech y bwrdd a’r gymuned wrth iddynt ffocysu ar wneud y prosiect yn llwyddiant. Os ydych chi eisiau trosglwyddo ased i’r gymuned, mae’n werth gofyn sut allwch chi weithio gyda’r gymuned i adeiladu ar eu cryfderau?