Regeneration programme helping people into jobs and homes
Posted on Monday 28th September 2015
Welsh Government Minister Lesley Griffiths has visited two of Newport's completed Vibrant and Viable Places projects.
The Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty said the investment by the Welsh Government in the regeneration had provided valuable training opportunities and quality housing for local people.
She visited the Pillgwenlly Millennium Centre which has been transformed into a successful employment and training hub, backed with £258,000 through the Welsh Government's Vibrant and Viable Places Programme.
Renovation work has included creating a modern learning zone and IT suite, as well as upgrading the front of house areas and catering facilities. As part of the ambitious project the existing Pillgwenlly Millennium Trust social enterprise was also developed to provide high-quality employment and training opportunities for residents and support for local start-up businesses.
Since it opened in April 2015, the successful Centre has already helped 46 people into employment and 62 people gain qualifications.
The Minister went on to visit 62-66 Cardiff Road, Newport - a prominent historic building which had fallen into disrepair. With support of over £890,000 from the Welsh Government, the building has been transformed by the Seren Group into 15 high quality affordable homes, made up from 12 one bedroom apartments and 3 two bedroom apartments.
The £1.5m project has significantly uplifted an area previously affected by anti-social behaviour, and created training and employment opportunities for four apprentices. The Minister visited the home of Stacey Farr, one of the residents at the new development, and saw first hand the impact the quality affordable housing is having on local people.
The two projects form part of the Welsh Government's £15 million support for the regeneration of Newport. Newport City Council successfully bid for the funding and has led on the programme working with partners in the private and voluntary sector. A number of other projects which are transforming landmark buildings in the city centre are also well under way.
Lesley Griffiths said: "Our vision is to ensure Newport is a vibrant place to live and work, with good infrastructure and quality development opportunities for local people. The two projects I have seen today are a key part of achieving this aim.
"The successful training and employment centre is proving to be an excellent community resource, providing services for local people to develop the skills they need to succeed. Meanwhile the redevelopment of Cardiff Road has not only created high quality homes for local people, but also conserved a key historic building and tackled anti-social behaviour."
Councillor Bob Bright, leader of Newport City Council, said: "The first two projects to be completed as part of the Vibrant and Viable Places programme in Newport are excellent examples of what can be achieved.
"Seren has taken a derelict building at a key gateway to the city centre and restored it to its former glory. More importantly, the group has created much needed new affordable homes of a high quality. Pill Millennium Centre is at the heart of the community and, by providing new facilities for the council's successful Work Based Learning Academy, residents will be able to get the skills and training they need to improve their life chances."
Seren's Director of Development, Neil Barber said: "Cardiff Road is a fantastic example of the importance of the Vibrant and Viable Places fund. Creating additional opportunities for affordable housing and training for local people, whilst contributing to the significant regeneration currently underway in Newport City Centre.
"We are delighted the Minister has witnessed first-hand the tangible impact the additional funding is making and would like to personally thank Charter Housing resident Stacey for welcoming us into her home today."