THE Older People’s Commissioner for Wales has praised an organisation that is supporting the families of ex-miners across South Wales following a visit to Newbridge.

The commissioner, Sarah Rochira, visited the Newbridge Memo to meet 14 members of a social group run by the Coal Industry and Social Welfare Organisation (CISWO).

The CISWO runs 15 clubs in former South Wales coalfield areas, which give members a chance to socialise with other women whose loved ones worked underground.

Ms Rochira said: “While some younger people will have no memories of the coalmines operating across South Wales, for many older people, the pits played a hugely significant role in their lives and their closure had a massive impact.

“They were often the glue that held communities together, with social clubs, events and excursions for workers and families consolidating the strong bonds that were created among those that worked underground together.

"Wonderful work by CISWO is helping to fill the voids left in some communities and provide opportunities for older people to remain close and to form new friendships.”

CISWO was set up to help former coal industry workers and their families in times of need. It has a specialist social work team that provides a free and confidential home visiting service, benefits advice and assistance with applications.

During her visit, the commissioner talked about her role and the support available to older people through her office, before listening to people talk about the issues that matter most to them.

The Newbridge group, set up in 2008, meets every other Friday from 2pm until 4pm.

For more information about the CISWO visit or call Phil Williams on 01443 485233 or email