Welsh Government have awarded Llansaint Welfare Hall in Carmarthenshire an additional £35,000 towards the total cost of £120,000 to extend and refurbish the welfare hall.
The announcement comes as part of almost £2m for improvements to community-based facilities right across Wales through the Community Facilities Programme (CFP).
This programme, which funds projects up to a maximum of £250,000, or up to £25,000 for smaller grants, helps well-used community facilities to improve their financial and/ or environmental sustainability, providing opportunities for local people to improve their day to day lives.
Since the CFP opened in 2015, the Welsh Government has funded 222 grants across Wales totalling £35.4 million. Each project represents a well-used community facility which brings people together. Some of these facilities are also community owned.
Llansaint Welfare Hall
Llansaint is a small village in a rural community with few services. The Welfare Hall is community-owned, with a small play area and large field.
“There is a village pub”, says Arfon Davies, Chair of the Welfare Hall committee, “but no post office, and the local school has closed.
“The Welfare Hall is the centre of the community. We host a monthly bingo night, a quiz night four times a year, a Christmas party, Easter Egg hunt and Halloween party, and every summer we put on ‘the Best Little Carnival in Wales’.
“Our bingo nights are sometimes the only thing that brings people out of the house. The Hall brings the whole community together, and makes a massive difference to people’s lives. All ages benefit – from the youngest children to the oldest in the village, who is 96.”
The funding will be used to demolish an old toilet block at the back of the Hall, to replace it with an extension housing a brand new kitchen and meeting room, and to upgrade the heating and electrical system.
Arfon continued: “This Welsh Government funding will transform the Welfare Hall into a community facility which will benefit everyone in the village. Residents are over the moon.
“The extension will mean that meetings of the Camera Club, Women’s Institute and Gardening Club can be held in a smaller, more welcoming space, and that we can cook more than hot dogs.
“We’re a very close-knit community – throughout the Covid pandemic, we’ve been keeping an eye on each other, people have been doing each other’s shopping and making sure that no-one is ever left isolated, but we can’t wait to get the renovation work started, and to re-open the Hall.
“As soon as we’re able, we are planning a massive celebration for the whole community – and we would love the Deputy Minister and Chief Whip, Jane Hutt, to come and join us, to see what a difference this funding has made to us. We want to say thank you to all involved for their support.”
Welsh Government Deputy Minister and Chief Whip, Jane Hutt said: “The Covid-19 pandemic and recent flooding has highlighted some specific challenges within communities, like mental health and social well-being. Shared commitment reinforces vibrant, caring communities, where citizens are bound together by close ties of co-operation and team work, inequalities are reduced, and the most vulnerable among us feel supported.
“The Welsh Government’s Community Facilities Programme supports some fantastic local projects to evolve and grow to meet the specific needs of their area.
“Offering grants like these to community-led projects helps to improve much needed facilities, which play such an important part in the lives of people throughout Wales. I want to thank the third sector organisations and volunteers who work so hard within their communities to deliver vital help and support where it is most needed – your efforts are inspiring.”
Welsh Government Finance Minister, Rebecca Evans, said: “Community facilities provide local access to a range of important services, such as health and well-being activities and have been a focus for activity throughout the pandemic. This new money will support these invaluable assets to continue to thrive and grow both now and in the future.”
Some of the other projects receiving funding in Wales in the latest round include:
- Ebbw Vale Community Cricket Pavilion, Blaenau Gwent – £204,000 towards the total cost to improve the changing area, disabled toilet facility and make roof repairs.
- Penydarren Boys & Girls Club, Merthyr Tydfil – £250,000 towards the cost of replacing the grass pitch with a 3G artificial playing surface, floodlights and additional changing rooms.
- Clwb Y Bont, RCT – £101,000 towards the cost of rebuilding the Club following the flooding in the area in 2020.
- Advance Brighter Futures, Wrexham – £145,818 towards the cost of enhancing and extending their current premises, providing additional one-to-one rooms and a fully-accessible toilet, installing enhanced level 4 certified fire alarm system and creating visitor parking.
- Agape – Ty-Sign Community Hall, Caerphilly – £250,000 towards the cost of building a new community hall in the centre of Ty-Sign estate, giving better access to services for the whole community.
- Ieuenctid Tysul Youth, Ceredigion – £7,500 towards the cost of refurbishing the kitchen at the youth centre to meet food hygiene standards.
- Y Tŷ Gwyrdd Limited, Denbighshire – £17,702 towards the cost of creating a new community hub.
- View (Glynneath) Ltd, Neath Port Talbot – £23,888 to create an Indoor/Outdoor Play area for Children.
- Hafod Ceiri, Gwynedd – £25,000 towards the cost of renovating and extending a Grade 2 listed Chapel to include a heritage centre, enterprise and business workshops, gallery, café and multi-use space including place of worship.
- St Michael’s and All Angeles Church, Monmouthshire – £25,000 to install disabled toilets and a kitchen, and provide new moveable chairs to make the space a more flexible community area and repair damaged flooring.
- Llansaint Welfare Hall, Carmarthenshire – additional £35,000 to extend and refurbish the welfare hall. These additional costs will be incurred due to the unexpected rise in costs of materials due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
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