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Charity told to make way for council staff

Created on 11/06/2019 @ 10:07
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Assurances about the future of Ponthafren have been given by the Director of the charity which promotes positive mental health in the town.

Claire Cartwright broadcast a social media video statement last night confirming that the body would continue to operate in Welshpool despite being forced to leave its current home on Broad Street.

Both the Ponthafren Association and the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust have been given notice to vacate the property at 42 Broad Street by landlords Powys County Council, who will use the building to relocate staff following the closure of Neuadd Maldwyn (pictured).

That move will also result in staff moving into the library which will be downgraded and squeezed in with Powysland Museum.

Claire Cartwright said: “I want to reassure everyone that Ponthafren will remain open in Welshpool and will continue to support those families with mental health needs.

“There has been some confusion on social media over the weekend and I want to make it clear that we will not be leaving Welshpool. We are actively seeking new premises.”

Welshpool County Councillor Graham Breeze says he is not happy at the way the authority has gone about the move.

“I am aware that Ponthafren Association has a contract with only a month’s termination agreement which is a ludicrous situation. They were, though, given three months’ notice and that has now been extended to five months to allow new premises to be found.

“But the manner in which Ponthafren received the notice from Powys County Council, without prior consultation is inexcusable, and came as a great shock. I will be asking that a full apology is received from the authority.

“I am aware that efforts are now being made by both Powys County Council and Welshpool Town Council to find alternative accommodation for this wonderful organisation and hopefully a quick solution will be found.

“There is no way that I will see Ponthafren removed from this building until they have a new home to go to.”

The Association was recently awarded £498,921 by the National Lottery Community Fund to deliver the Ponthafren Empowering, Inspiring, Education project which will build on learning from the current programme of counselling and one-to-one recovery by enhancing its new pathway approach.

The project will support between 1,200-1,425 people with mental health issues, and 40 volunteers will gain confidence and skills in the areas of Welshpool, Newtown and Llanidloes.

Ponthafren also receives funding from Powys County Council.

Powys County Council confirmed this morning that they are shifting the charities to make way for its Housing Service.

Cllr Phyl Davies, Cabinet Member for Highways, Assets and Recycling, told us: “We have taken the decision to close 42 Broad Street as a commercial property. 

“Ponthafren provides a valuable service in North Powys and we want to help the association find an alternative venue so they can continue with their good work.

“We have held initial discussions with them to see what help can be offered to secure a different premise for their use and hope to meet them again in the near future to discuss options. 

“We will be offering Ponthafren a short extension to their notice period to ensure their service is not unduly impacted by the decision. The short extension will also allow further searches to take place to find an alternative venue.

“42 Broad Street is to be transferred to our Housing Service, who will operate from the building once a closure date for Neuadd Maldwyn is set.”

Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust has not commented as yet on the issue.

Neuadd Maldwyn is expected to close this summer and, despite secrecy surrounding its future, it is expected to become a care facility.

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