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Train-ing for a bright future on our coast

July 11, 2018

Summer’s here and while the sun shines and the temperature soars we can start planning some of the great sunny adventures we’ve been waiting all year for. Now, thanks to the incredible work of some very talented apprentices, more people than ever can join in the fun after the opening of the Vale of Rheidol Railway’s disabled access carriage in Aberystwyth.

After being awarded £251,280 in August 2017 as part of Round 4 of the Coastal Communities Fund (CCF) programme, the railway helped train two young people in the skills to refurbish derelict steam train carriages and to ensure that the expertise stays in the local area for generations to come. This is the second project that the Vale of Rheidol has completed as part of the programme, after also being successful in Round 3 with a grant of £288,000, and has now created a total of 6 new apprentices, 4 trainer posts, while also safeguarding a further 8 roles.

Local resident and wheelchair user Carwyn Daniels had the honour to test out the new carriage and was delighted to ride the train for the first time since he was a young child. After a short journey with stops along the way, the packed train was greeted on the other end of the line in Devils Bridge with an ensemble from Mynach Community School’s choir and a grand buffet to celebrate the occasion.

The effects of the project will also greatly benefit the wider coastal community with the opportunity to partner with other local businesses to provide new experiences like wedding trains, afternoon tea and even murder mystery journeys. On both sides of the line, businesses are sure to reap the rewards for years to come with a forecasted 2,000 extra visitors per year.

Hywel Lovgreen, Funding Officer for the project, said, “It was a wonderful day and a real milestone for the company. The accessible carriages are not just a welcome provision in catering for the needs of all but are also a result of, and a credit to, the hard work of the highly skilled workforce and apprentices that the company now employs – a perfect fit to the Coastal Communities Fund Programme”.

As the Big Lottery Fund administers the Coastal Communities Fund on behalf of the Welsh Government we’re currently awaiting news of a further funding round. If you’d like to register your interest for the programme you can do so by emailing ccfwales@biglotteryfund.org.uk.

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