You would be forgiven for assuming that the Welfare Playing ground in Ystradgynlais was community owned. The place where Adrian Lock made his 500th cap for Ystradgynlais RFC is an integral part of the Town. It is where thousands of local sportsmen and women have had their first taste of football, cricket and rugby.
However, Ystradgynlais, in the Swansea Valley face a fight to keep these fields. They are not community owned but community leased from the Gough estate. And the lease is set to expire in September. Thankfully Ystradgynlais Community Welfare Ground Association is a charity set-up to look after and to save the fields.
Ystradgynlais Community Welfare Ground Association
However they face a tall order in being able to keep the fields as the community have enjoyed for the last 100 years. Their website states:- “For the past 100 years, the Welfare Ground Playing Fields have been the home of our community’s tennis, bowls, cricket, football and rugby facilities, as well as playing their part in hosting many carnivals and festivals. Many enjoy spending their leisure time walking around the beautiful open green space as have generations before.”
“But many of us have never really considered who owns the grounds, assuming it is all owned and run by Ystradgynlais RFC or Powys County Council. But this is not the case. In fact, the land was leased to the community for 100 years and that lease is about to expire.”
“Behind the scenes, volunteers have negotiated a new lease at the very reasonable rate of £2,000 per annum, but there is one catch: the lease must be paid 50 years in advance. It will come as no surprise to learn that the Town or County Councils are unable to fund this cost in the present climate, which means that the community of Ystradgynlais needs to raise £100,000 as soon as possible, or risk losing all of these excellent facilities.”
Need the community
“Unfortunately, grant funding from sources such as the National Lottery etc. is not available to purchase leaseholds. That is why the community of Ystradgynlais need to meet this challenge.
“Undoubtedly, this is a daunting and ambitious task. However we believe that the people of Ystradgynlais can meet this challenge together. To this end, a charity has been set up by volunteer trustees. Specifically to secure and fund the Ystradgynlais Welfare Ground lease.”
“The idea of our town losing this outstanding community sports facility and green space would be a tragedy. Please donate what you can to save our playing fields. We would warmly welcome any fundraising or sponsorship events that we know our vibrant and creative community can devise to help raise these desperately needed funds.”
Collection boxes for donations can be found at various locations throughout town. The charity hope that locals will chip in where possible. They are also asking for donations online at www.ycwga.co.uk or on Facebook @YCWGA. It is also possible to donate by cheque or bank transfer by contacting [email protected]