FIVE Torfaen-based groups will be celebrating this Christmas after being awarded grants totalling £34,266 from the Big Lottery Fund.

Parents of Play Information Torfaen, Pontnewynydd Friends for Life Community Hub, The Hwb Torfaen, Llanderfel Court Community Association, and Able Radio in Cwmbran were all successful in their bids for funding.

Parents of Play Information Torfaen have been given £9,500 to support families with complex needs through provision of workshops where parents can build networks and find out information. The group also provide one-to-one support for children, so they can experience activities.

Vicki Robertson, vice chair of Parents of Play Information Torfaen (P.O.P.I.T) said: “We are delighted to receive this support thanks to National Lottery Players.

“We deliver a series of family forums and a number of inclusive community projects to bring communities together and offer them exciting new friendly sessions with support for all.”

Pontnewynydd Friends for Life Community Hub will use their £4,635 grant to organise a programme of activities for their members many of whom are older and disabled and experience isolation.

The project will help build strong relationships within this community and across communities.

Cynthia Jeffries, chairwoman of the group said: “We are all so thrilled to get the award which means that the group can continue.

“The group is such an essential part of our lives for social interaction, to combat loneliness and for some cultural activity.

“We look forward in the new year to start planning our future activities.

“The best thing about the award is that we can now continue to meet for lunch once a week, support one another and enjoy activities together in a friendly, warm, companionable atmosphere which is so essential for our age group.”

The Hwb Torfaen’s grant for £9,996 will create a recording studio which will be used by the disadvantaged young people in their area to record music they have created enabling them to gain new skills.

Chairman Mark Price said: “We are delighted to get this project up and running, we are passionate about nurturing creativity in our young people. Music and the arts provide a platform for young people to express themselves in new and exciting ways”

Blaenavon Mayor Gareth Davies added: “It is very welcome news that the Hwb has been awarded a grant to set up and run a recording studio at the facility.

“In a time when music budgets in schools are being squeezed, it’s brilliant that local young people will get the opportunity to make and record music and learn technical skills that will support their creativity and educational goals.

“The work of the Hwb goes beyond giving Blaenavon’s young people a place to go, it’s a vital resource for skills and development.”

Llanderfel Court Community Association in Torfaen will spend £4,935 to organise a series of events and trips which have been requested by their community.

Treasurer Jan Otton said: "We are very thankful for the generous funds provided by the Big Lottery Fund. This will help to provide opportunities for residents on their own to interact and get to know others in the same position, also forming lifelong friendships."

Able Radio will be using their £5,200 grant to develop a volunteer group to carry out maintenance at their site, a converted school that hosts three charities for people with learning disabilities and mental health issues.

Rob Symons, general manager of Able Radio, said: “Able Radio are working with other users of our site to create a garden for all users of the centre.

“A pathway has already been put in to enable access to those with poor mobility, but the restrictions of the site were making it very hard to connect to the upper building as a turning ramp will be required so currently wheelchair users are unable to access the garden.

“The grant from the lottery will pay for a properly constructed ramp and also provide a secure store and some power tools for volunteers to use in developing the garden.

“We are delighted that this garden will now be in line with our aims of making everything we do accessible to all.”