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RHIGOS COMMUNITY SPORTS ASSOCIATION

Rhigos Community Sports Association! So what’s that all about? Well, way back in 1996 a group of Rhigos people got together a public meeting at the Community Centre and asked the question? In Winter weather which as we know stretches from August to June in Rhigos where are our children, young adults and grey haired golden oldies going to be able to play sport and exercise? Answer – build a Sports Hall! So we did.

We formed a management committee from representatives of Rhigos Community Council, Rhigos Senior Citizens, Rhigos RFC, Rhigos Sports FC, Rhigos Cricket Club, Rhigos Bannerettes Jazz Band, Rhigos School, Rhigos Athletics Club and Rhigos Villagers and we adopted a constitution which stated that the function of the RCSA was to build and run a Sports Hall in the village of Rhigos.

Rhigos RFC gave a 50 year lease at £1 per annum peppercorn rent on a patch of ground at the bottom of the club car park.

Rita Moses, one of Rhigos best community and District Councillors persuaded Rhigos Council that £60000 donated to the village by British Coal from the Selar O.C.C.S could best be used to kickstart the Sports Hall project. The Community Council agreed, the cheque was paid over and a bank account at Barclays Glynneath was opened in late 1996.

The next step was to persuade the Rhondda Cynon Taf County Council that the project was worth supporting. They listened, in fact the Sport and Leisure Department proved to be incredibly helpful and in early 1998 again helped by Councillor Rita Moses we secured £91760 grant from the Rhondda Cynon Taf Strategic Development Scheme.

We then decided to get some professional help. Andrew Goodenough from Rhigos RFC persuaded his company Chandler KBS from Cardiff Bay to develop a plan to cost out and project manage the building of a Sports Hall and to help demonstrate to Sportlot Wales in Sophia Gardens that such a plan was feasible and would be of immeasurable benefits to the isolated community of Rhigos primarily but also to the northern part of the Cynon Valley and the top end of the Neath valley.

On 6th October 1998 the Sports Council for Wales granted us £286276 to put a total of £438036 in the pot and by 1st September 1999 the Sports Hall had been built and the first part of our constitution had been completed.

That was the build. We thought that getting that far was difficult enough. Here we are 15 years later, an enthusiastic gang of volunteers running the Rhigos Sports Hall. We have seen the hall change from an enterprise with 2 full time employees, 3 part time employees and 14 volunteers to a much smaller group of 1 part time employee (and thank God for Jackie Stirton our priceless part time manageress) and 10 volunteers where the role of volunteer has changed from simply being a board of administrators to hands on get in there and do the work grafters.

We have found the last 15 years infinitely more challenging than the years before the build and in order to keep the Sports Hall open we have had to change how the hall is run, when the hall is open and increase the scope of the facilities that we can offer to the Rhigos and the surrounding villages of North Cynon.

We have had continuity and strong leadership throughout from an excellent Chairman, Allan Woodward, Secretary Clive Harris, Treasurer Glan Rowley and Patron Rita Moses who have been involved since Day One and who together have kept us all focussed on what we are about.

Rhigos Community Council has also given us financial help on a series of occasions during the last 15 years because quite frankly we are run on a shoestring budget. While in recent years Celtic Energy and the Tower Fund have proved generous benefactors particularly with the Weights Room build.

We have had constant support throughout from Rhondda Cynon Taf’s Sport and Leisure Department and are currently working closely with them to develop a new Weights Room and improve our aerobics and cardiac room. But that is another story.

Or rather it is another chapter in the same story – running our Sports Hall for the benefit of our communities.

Clive Harris

Hon Secretary

Rhigos Community Sports Association