Home * Latest News * About the Valleys * Whats On * Local Attractions * Contact Us * Traders A to Z

Christmas Drop Off Point

Rhondda AM Leanne Wood will use her constituency office as a drop-off point so people can donate to homeless people this Christmas.

The Plaid Cymru Leader, from Penygraig, is asking local people to call by with non-perishable foods so local charity Adref can make hampers for homeless people in Rhondda Cynon Taff and Merthyr Tydfil .

Last year, the charity distributed 91 hampers but they say the need is greater this year due to increasing levels of homelessness.

Items which are suitable for donating include tinned foods, chocolate, tea, coffee, hot chocolate, dried milk and sugar.

The Rhondda AM is also helping to collect jams, crisps, pot noodles, squash and juice along with toiletries and women’s personal hygiene items.

Ms Wood said it was important to remember homeless people, particularly at this time of the year.

She said: "Homelessness is something that can affect almost anyone through no fault of their own, and is entirely avoidable.

“A sudden loss of employment, a benefits sanction or the breakdown in a relationship can see someone on the streets in a matter of weeks - or even days.
'Christmas is especially hard when people are alone'

“Being homeless is tough at any time of the year but it is worse at Christmas. At the height of winter it’s colder but also because Christmas is especially hard when people are alone.

"When families are generally brought together to celebrate, it can be difficult when there is no one close to turn to."

She also spoke about the work of the local charity, and asked for people's help to boost the number of items it can distribute to those in need.

“This is why the work of Adref is so important," she added. "The donations are one way all of us can show compassion towards people in need.

“If anyone can spare some non-perishable items for the hampers for the homeless, it will go some way to helping those most in need of it.”
How can I donate?

The AM's office can be found at 68 Pontypridd Road, Porth, opposite the dental teaching unit at Leith House.

The office can be contacted on 01443 681420.


Nearly one in three families across Wales have been trapped in problem debt in the past year, new research by a children’s charity reveals.

A study by The Children’s Society found that 29% of families - representing 183,500 children in Wales - have been failing to keep up with household bills and loan repayments in the past year. As well, families were found to be more than twice as likely to have been trapped in problem debt as childless households.

The area of Wales with the highest number of children in families with problem debt was Rhondda Cynon Taf , with 16,300.

This was followed by Cardiff , with 14,700, Swansea , with 14,200, and Caerphilly , with 12,300.

Higher than expected borrowing means there is more austerity to come

The survey of 2,000 adults, carried out by Opinium, defined problem debt as falling behind on the repayments of bills or credit commitments. It found that families in problem debt over the last year are juggling an average of four different types of debt; arrears on energy bills, loans from friends and family, bank loans and council tax.

While the size of family debt varies, overall almost a third of parents in problem debt currently have arrears of more than £5,000.

The Children’s Society has previously found that problem debt is putting stress on family relationships, damaging children and trapping families in a downward spiral of borrowing. As part of its Debt Trap campaign, the organisation is calling for changes to how creditors treat families with children who fall behind on bills and repayments.

Heartless loan shark who told a victim he would 'smash her partner's head in' must repay thousands

Chief Executive of the Children’s Society Matthew Reed said: “Again and again, we have raised the urgent problem of families who are trapped by debt and whose children often pay the price with their mental and physical health.

“With unfair and unsustainable repayment plans, hidden charges, soaring interest, visits from intimidating bailiffs and the fear of eviction, the odds are stacked against parents who are desperate to find a way out of their debt.

“Meanwhile, mums and dads are being forced to make impossible decisions between feeding and clothing their children and paying the bills.

“It is now absolutely clear that this problem is not going away unless the UK government takes action to give families the breathing space they need to get their finances back on track.

“Acting now could have a hugely beneficial impact, not just on family finances in the short term but on the futures of some of the country’s most vulnerable children.”

Chancellor told to deliver £880m to avoid a betrayal of Wales in Autumn Statement

Families with dependent children face pressures as they are more likely to face unexpected bills and are less able to cope with sudden financial shocks, caused by things like redundancy, reductions in working hours or illness.

As families begin to struggle financially, many feel that taking on credit is the only way to make ends meet. This often marks the beginning of the debt trap as credit repayments take up a larger proportion of income and families find themselves cutting back on essentials.

Citizens Advice Cymru Director Fran Targett said: “Many of the cases we see are households with children. Over the last few years we have also seen a change in the nature of debt problems, with increasing numbers of people coming to us regarding arrears on essential household bills such as council tax debt, rent arrears, water debt and fuel debt.

“Many of our clients frequently have to make the choice of eating, heating or buying clothes for their children.
The number of people in Wales who have amassed debts by using payday loan companies has risen by 555%

“The consequences of not paying some bills can be particularly serious. Therefore, if people are struggling to make ends meet and keep up with bills and loan repayments, we would urge them to seek free independent debt advice from their nearest Citizens Advice as soon as possible to prevent any debts becoming even more unmanageable.”

Fran added: “In 2015-2016, we helped more than 26,000 people with over 124,500 debt-related problems in Wales. It is currently the second biggest advice area for which people seek help from the Citizens Advice service in Wales.”

One in three have fallen out with a family member of friend over a debt of £100 or less

The Children’s Society is urging the UK Government to introduce a 12-month "breathing space" scheme to give struggling families a period of protection from additional charges, mounting interest and enforcement action while they seek advice, put their finances in order and get back on their feet.

The charity will publish a draft of a Parliamentary Bill to make this "breathing space" a reality for hundreds of thousands of families. The Bill is being sponsored by Kelly Tolhurst MP and will be debated by MPs in the New Year.

Edward Ware of StepChange Debt Charity said: “These figures are extremely worrying and paint a distressing picture of the scale of problem debt in Wales. Debt can have a devastating impact on people and their families, including physical and mental health problems.

“With more and more people struggling to pay their essential bills and facing a daily struggle to put food on their tables, the Government must act. A statutory ‘breathing space’ scheme would provide vital protection to the people who need it the most, meaning they could regain control of their finances and stop debt from wrecking their lives.”


Carvery to close for 'rebranding' next week as petition gathers more than 600 signatures

A popular Valleys carvery will close for "rebranding and refurbishing" next week, as a petition calling for it to change its name gains more than 600 signatures.

Crown Carveries announced last month that it would be reopening its Rhondda branch as a new Stonehouse Pizza and Carvery.

Popular restaurant asked to change name because of links to Aberfan disaster

It followed calls from a number of people - including Rhondda AM Leanne Wood - who campaigned for the venue to change its name from The Lord Tonypandy, in light of the 50th anniversary of the Aberfan disaster.

“Many people in the Rhondda are sick and tired of being associated with Lord Tonypandy and the programmes aired recently showed why they are justified to feel this way," Ms Wood said.

“It is time his name was removed from places like the Lord Tonypandy pub - his legacy is nothing to be proud of."

Police are still investigating George Thomas over historic sex abuse allegations

George Thomas - also known as Lord Tonypandy - was the Secretary of State for Wales when the disaster claimed the lives of 116 children and 28 adults.

Along with the then Prime Minister and Chancellor, he worked out a formula whereby the Aberfan Fund – launched to help the bereaved families – would contribute £250,000 towards the cost of removing the tip. Later the contribution required from the fund was reduced to £150,000.

A petition calling on the company to change its name was launched by Ms Wood and has since gathered more than 600 signatures and a number of suggestions for a new name.

In response to the campaign, Crown Carveries said they understood the wealth of local feeling around the Lord Tonypandy name and would be "very happy" to consider potential new names.


Rhondda village football club's Welsh Cup match will be shown live on S4C
Ton Pentre will host Bangor City on December 4

A Rhondda village football club will star on the small screen next month as their Welsh Cup match will be screened live on S4C.

Ton Pentre AFC have been drawn against Welsh Premier League side Bangor City FC for the third round fixture next month - and the game at Ynys Park in the heart of the Rhondda will be featured by the Welsh-language broadcaster.

The teams have not met since the 1996-97 season when Ton Pentre were members of the League of Wales, while the game will also see former Llanelli teammates Lee Phillips and Andy Legg go head-to-head in the dugouts for the first time.
'An incredible Welsh Cup tie'

Ton Pentre AFC, nicknamed The Rhondda Bulldogs, has existed since 1896, and revealed community-ownership plans in November 2015 to try to emulate the success stories of the likes of Newport County and Merthyr Town FC.

Bulldogs manager Phillips said: "This is an incredible JD Welsh Cup tie. It’s certainly one of the standout fixtures of Round 3 and it will be fantastic to welcome Dafabet Welsh Premier League opposition to Ynys Park.

“Bangor have been an incredibly successful club over the years and they appear to be returning to their best under Andy Legg.
'We are sure the people of the Rhondda will come along'

“We are sure that the people of the Rhondda will come along to support the Bulldogs as there’s a real buzz in the area around this match and even more so now with the news that it has been chosen by S4C and Sgorio for live coverage.”

Bangor City, fourth in the Welsh Premier League, have won the Welsh Cup eight times and have been runner-up on 10 other occasions.

Meanwhile, Ton Pentre have only reached the Welsh Cup Final on one previous occasion - back in 1922 when they lost 2-0 to Cardiff City.

The match kicks off at 3pm on Sunday, December 4. English language commentary will be available on Sky, Freeview or Virgin Media, while the match will also be available on Sgorio's Favebook

Home * Latest News * About the Valleys * Whats On * Local Attractions * Contact Us * Traders A to Z