The protest at Coffi Vista, Caerphilly

The First Minister faced questions about the future of Caerphilly’s under-threat Coffi Vista following one of the biggest protests in the town for almost 50 years.

Delyth Jewell quizzed Mark Drakeford on Caerphilly County Borough Council’s proposal to close the former tourism information centre to help balance its books.

The Plaid Cymru MS, who represents South Wales East, called for support from the Welsh Government to keep the community asset open.

Ms Jewell said: “There’s a very popular centre in the middle of Caerphilly that houses a coffee shop, a gallery and public toilets. 

“Coffi Vista is used as a hub by vulnerable groups.

South Wales East MS Delyth Jewell speaking in the Senedd
South Wales East MS Delyth Jewell

“The man who runs it, Martin, has a special table set aside for people who are lonely so they’ve got somewhere that’s warm and welcoming to sit.

“The future of the centre is under threat because of cuts to local authority budgets.

“Now, I realise that councils are facing difficult circumstances and I wonder what support the Welsh Government can give to councils to ensure that community assets remain open.”

Plaid Cymru’s deputy leader said hundreds of people braced the cold to show how important the centre is to them at a rally held on Saturday January 13.

She told the Senedd: “The town mayor, Mike Prew, said it was the largest demonstration in Caerphilly for almost 50 years, since the Sex Pistols played to the town in 1976.

“So, I’d ask what support could be given to help keep centres like this open and available for the people who rely on them so much.”

During First Minister’s questions on Tuesday January 23, Mark Drakeford replied: “I thank Delyth Jewell for that small part of Caerphilly history.”

Mr Drakeford stressed that the Welsh Government has protected the revenue support grant, which funds councils, as part of its 2024-25 budget process.

“On top of that, there are a series of grants that local authorities will receive, and Caerphilly will be a beneficiary of those as well,” said Wales’ First Minister.

“Just as we are going through the process here in the Senedd of having our budget scrutinised by different committees, so local authorities have published their budgets.

Coffi Vista, Caerphilly
Coffi Vista, Caerphilly

“They can gauge the reaction of their local populations and see whether the decisions they have made need to be fine-tuned to respond to that local concern.

“In the difficult circumstances Caerphilly council faces – and that’s true of all local authorities – I’m sure it will be listening carefully to the views of its local population.”

Caerphilly’s Labour Senedd Member, Hefin David, said it was “important Y Galeri remains open and that the full building remains operational”.

He continued: “I remain in contact with the council and will keep people updated via my Facebook page.

“I would like to see the coffee shop continue, which we could see through a social enterprise.”

petition against the closure of Coffi Vista has already been signed by more than 2,500 people.

Have your say

The council’s draft budget, which includes a council tax hike of 6.9% and a host of other savings, is currently out for public consultation – meaning there is still time to save the venue.

Once the public budget consultation ends, changes may be introduced with a final budget decision made by a meeting of full council.

The public consultation on the draft budget proposals opened on the Caerphilly Council website on Monday January 22.

The council will also host the following drop-in sessions for residents:

  • Monday January 29, Nelson Library, 10am-midday.
  • Tuesday January 30, Bargoed Library, 4.30pm-6.30pm.
  • Tuesday January 30, Blackwood Library, 10am-midday
  • Thursday February 1, Ystrad Mynach Library, 10am-midday.
  • Monday February 5, Rhymney Library, 10am-midday.
  • Wednesday February 7, Risca Library, 3pm-5pm.
  • Thursday February 8, Newbridge Library, 10am-midday.
  • Friday February 9, Caerphilly Library, 11am-1pm.

Two online sessions will also be held:

  • Wednesday January 31, 11am-midday.
  • Thursday February 8, 2pm-3pm.

Register for an online session by emailing with your preferred date.

Contact the same email address or call 01443 864380 for accessibility queries or if you require translation services.