Posted on: Wednesday 30 January 2019
A Grade II listed chapel in Blaenavon will be transformed into a community hub thanks to a £303k investment.
The Bethlehem Chapel Community Group have secured funding from a range of investors including the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and Welsh Government, Blaenavon Town Council, and the Co-operative Society, to carry out renovation works to the main chapel building.
The group currently offer community services such as a food bank, lunch club, pottery, and art and craft classes from a small school building attached to the chapel, and the funding will allow them to transform the main building into a usable space and increase the services they offer.
Bethlehem Chapel was built in 1840 and is one of the oldest buildings in Blaenavon. It was given a Grade II listing by Cadw 1995 for its special interest as a mid-19th century non-conformist Chapel.
The funding will allow the group to renew the chapel roof, install a disabled toilet, and carry out a mechanical and electrical upgrade of the building to bring it up to standard.
Rev Jill Stephens said: “This is fantastic news and means we can carry out essential renovations to the chapel, allowing us to use the main chapel building to offer services for the community.
“I would like to thank all of the organisations that have contributed to this funding which will make a real difference to the local community here in Blaenavon.”
Councillor Alan Jones, executive member for business, tourism, leisure and culture with responsibility for regeneration, said: “This is fantastic news. The Bethlehem Chapel Community Group do a huge amount for the community and this funding will allow them to do even more, while also helping to preserve one of the town’s oldest and most iconic buildings.”
Richard Bellamy, Head of HLF in Wales, said: “The Bethlehem Chapel is at the heart of the Blaenavon community and this work is an essential part of a wider Townscape Heritage scheme. Thanks to National Lottery players HLF can help rejuvenate a much-loved building, providing an important link to a community’s roots, while being adapted to meet the needs of today.”