13 July 2009>
An indoor Caerphilly county borough skate park has made a successful '360 turn' and been transformed into an educational facility with funding from the Heads of the Valleys Programme.
Jane Hutt AM Minister for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills visited the new Hangar Youth and Community Centre in Aberbargoed on Thursday to officially launch the facility.
The Caerphilly County Borough Council-run centre previously housed the Hanger 81 skate park, which closed last year following a decline in usage. After consultations with local residents the decision was made to transform the facility into an educational and physical activity centre to serve the wider community.
Leader of Caerphilly County Borough Council, Cllr Lindsay Whittle commented, "The facilities at the newly refurbished Hangar will be a great benefit to the local people in Aberbargoed and to the surrounding community in providing a venue for young and old alike to learn, socalise and develop new skills."
Following extensive refurbishment works the facility now boasts a purpose built youth club and community area, IT facilities for both youth and adult use and a sports hall with changing areas for physical activities. The Hangar Youth and Community Centre will act as a full time base for Youth Work excellence and leisure activities, serving Aberbargoed and the surrounding communities. It will also house part time Youth Clubs and provide a 'hub' for clusters of Youth Work activity. Refurbishment of the building was made possible with funding of £150,000 from the Heads of the Valleys Programme and funding provided through the Welsh Assembly Youth Service Capital Fund.
The Heads of the Valleys Programme is a 15-year regeneration project, led by the Welsh Assembly Government, working to benefit communities in Merthyr Tydfil, Blaenau Gwent, Torfaen, Caerphilly and Rhondda Cynon Taf. Aimed at stimulating regeneration, economic growth, and environmental improvement, the £140 million programme is making the Heads of the Valleys an increasingly successful and attractive area for people to live and work.
Welsh Assembly Government Deputy Minister for Regeneration, Leighton Andrews said: "Hangar 81 will have played an important part in the lives of many local youngsters, and will now continue to do so as an important community facility for adults as well as young people. The Heads of the Valleys Programme is steadily making a positive impact throughout the area, with investment like this benefiting local people and communities in very practical ways."
Education Minister Jane Hutt said: "This centre will offer state of the art, fit for purpose facilities for young people. It will provide a much needed resource for the community as a whole to support Lifelong Learning, sport and recreational activities. It is an excellent example of what can be achieved through collaborative working."
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