However the word community is defined, it is becoming increasingly clear that the Caerphilly Miners Centre is fast becoming an integral part of the local community in Caerphilly.
It is not too long ago that the old Miners’ Hospital was facing demolition when the new hospital on the outskirts of Ystrad Mynych was opened. But because the local community felt that the original Miners’ Hospital building, The Beeches, was worth saving, the building was given to ‘the community’.
The old Miners’ Hospital had a special place in the hearts of many people in Caerphilly. In 1923 the miners of the Rhymney valley collectively bought The Beeches House and transformed it into a hospital. As such, it provided healthcare for the 24,000 miners who worked in the 29 collieries in the Rhymney Valley. With the creation of the NHS, the Miners’ Hospital became part of the new national provision.
Today it is fast becoming become a new Community Centre. There is still a lot of work to be done, but the building as a whole has been made secure and the ground floor of The Beeches is being regularly used for a wide range of community activities.
Only the other day, a musical soirée (which I described as a ‘posh go as you please’) was held in the Centre. Local people enjoyed cheese and wine and, at the same time, enjoyed a musical extravaganza, which included vocal duets, various instrumental solos and even the local MP doing his best to play his oboe!
An Italian style café, called Café a Roma has also opened, building on the tradition of Italian cafés in South Wales. The Miners Centre café was opened on the morning of the Wales v Italy rugby international. Hopefully it won’t be too long before Café a Roma will become the hub of the Centre’s activities.
Apart from the fact that The Beeches has a special place in the affection of Caerphilly people, a key feature of the Centre is that it is run by volunteers. They work tirelessly for the Centre and are determined to make sure that the Centre is a first rate facility for the local community.