Cardiff Capital Region chief executive Kellie Beirne speaking at the launch of the Northern Valleys Initiative in Bargoed
Cardiff Capital Region chief executive Kellie Beirne speaking at the launch of the Northern Valleys Initiative in Bargoed Credit: LDRS

A new £50 million fund for businesses investing in South East Wales will reinvigorate communities in northern parts of the Valleys, its backers believe.

Covering six local authorities and launched by the Cardiff Capital Region partnership, the fund will prioritise projects in tourism, infrastructure and digital connectivity.

The new Northern Valleys Initiative will run until March 2029, focusing on northern areas of Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda Cynon Taf, and Torfaen.

The funding is open to businesses already operating in those areas or looking to invest there, with between £100,000 and £2m typically available for each successful project.

At a launch event in Bargoed on Thursday April 11, speakers acknowledged northern areas of the Valleys had lost out on previous investment when compared with the M4 corridor.

Kellie Beirne, chief executive of the Cardiff Capital Region partnership, said northern Valleys communities were “vibrant” and had “high streets with huge potential”.

While mining towns had once been at the “heart of the Industrial Revolution”, the new £50m investment scheme was “about looking forward” and thinking about the region’s “economic future”, she said.

Decision-makers acknowledged the £50m fund could be considered modest, but argue it will serve as a “catalyst” for serious investment that will bring in more money to the area.

Caerphilly Council leader Sean Morgan, speaking in a launch video at the event, said the new initiative would “bring hope back to communities that feel left behind”.

Anthony Hunt, leader of Torfaen Council and the chairman of the Cardiff Capital Region partnership, said that by working together, councils in the area could “raise the whole of the Valleys as a collective”.

Guests at the launch event also heard from Richard Manchett, regional director of Zip World, an outdoor activity centre at the former Tower Colliery site in Hirwaun, Rhondda Cynon Taf.

He said branching out into the Valleys had been a major success but businesses investing in the region still faced challenges, including around joining-up different sectors and industries, encouraging more growth.

The next question people ask when they make a booking with Zip World is about nearby accommodation, he told attendees.

“If we don’t strategically link our businesses together, we will all fall flat,” he added.

Anyone interested in applying for the Northern Valleys Initiative can email the Cardiff Capital Region at