24 November 2020
Brecon's showpiece attraction y Gaer is set to boost the town's education and cultural centre and provide an even great visitor experience if a partnership is finalised.
The unique town centre attraction, which opened to the public nearly 12 months ago, could become the centre piece of a partnership between Powys County Council and NPTC Group of Colleges.
Twelve months ago, the council's Cabinet embarked on a search for organisations interested in partnering with them in operating the new cultural and historic attraction to reduce the financial impact of the facility on the council and increase public access.
The exercise attracted interest from a number of organisations and a recommendation to pursue negotiations with NPTC Group of Colleges to become a partner with the county council has been approved by Cabinet.
Under the proposals the college group would occupy some of the rooms in y Gaer and contribute to the running costs of the building.
Cllr Rachel Powell, Cabinet Member for Culture and Young People, said: "I consider this to be a great opportunity in view to utilising this impressive cultural space for a further educational reach. In addition, to have a generation of willing learners, accessing this unique setting, alongside the library and museum, further enhances the attraction. The intergenerational activity will be welcomed and with extended hours in opening times, this will ensure that this facility is maximised in its potential.
"Y Gaer is one of our many important historical attractions within Powys. The college partnership will add an additional perspective, in view to encouraging the next generation to further appreciate art in all of its forms. It will future benefit Brecon, local businesses and the surrounding areas."
Cllr Phyl Davies, Cabinet Member for Education and Property, said: "y Gaer is a major capital development scheme in Brecon led by Powys County Council, and we want to maximise use of our new and exciting facility. Partnership working with NPTC Group of Colleges would enhance and complement our objectives to make y Gaer a major educational and cultural destination for Powys residents and visitors to the county."
Mark Dacey, Principal and CEO of NPTC Group of Colleges, said: "The NPTC Group of Colleges has an excellent reputation for academic results, the quality of teaching and learning, its support for students, and its work with industry. For the second year running we have been voted the best college in Wales at the 'school leavers awards'.
"We believe that moving into y Gaer is essential for our future sustainability in Brecon and will improve the essential links with the community generally and with the many vibrant community groups. The Brecon Beacons College finds itself in the wrong location a mile north of the town centre and we believe relocating would help regenerate the town centre as well as encouraging further uptake on courses due to ease of access, better location and better facilities."
The town centre facility, which opened last December, is a major capital development led by the county council with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and a number of funding partners. It involved the restoration and refurbishment of the Grade II* listed Brecknock Museum building combining with an innovative new adjoining library and community building to create a 'cultural hub'.