Posted on: Tuesday 1 October 2019
The Blaenavon Townscape Heritage Programme (THP) is underway, and the first building to benefit from funding has been completed.
Bethlehem Chapel, located in Blaenavon, has been renovated and now has a new slate roof, cast iron rainwater goods, timber windows, timber doors and lime rendering. To celebrate the re-opening of the chapel a successful rededication service was held on Sunday 15th September.
The chapel is now fully accessible and benefits from drop down screen and projector which, in addition to the religious use of the building, can accommodate a range of alternative events.
This renovation programme attracted significant funding from the Blaenavon THP, and the Rural Development Programme (RDP) to ensure that the building was approached sensitively and brought back into long term sustainable use using traditional construction skills and appropriate materials.
Rev. Jill Stephens, said: "We are excited to know our building is now ready to be a church and community space. It is a place where ‘all are welcome’. We look forward to welcoming you all here. Thank you to everyone".
Councillor Richard Clark, executive member for economy, skills and regeneration, said: "I would like to thank everyone who contributed financially to this project. Without the support and vision of so many stakeholders this truly wonderful transformation wouldn’t have been possible.
"Seeing old or unused buildings being brought back to life to benefit the community is wonderful."
Councillor Alan Jones, Blaenavon World Heritage Champion, said: "I am delighted to see all of the hard work and determination shown by Bethlehem Chapel has finally come to fruition. For ten long years, Bethlehem Chapel, supported by Torfaen County Borough Council and Blaenavon Town Council have sought to secure funding to regenerate the chapel.
"To see it now standing proud is a real testament to the great work the community of Blaenavon has undertaken. The last Welsh speaking chapel of Blaenavon can now re-open its doors to provide a valued community resource."
The Blaenavon THP is being delivered through funding contributions from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Torfaen County Borough Council, Blaenavon Town Council and Cadw. This project has also received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.
The THP is supporting physical and community heritage regeneration in Blaenavon through targeted building grants on identified properties and community initiatives. The THP is due to complete in December 2021.
Find out more about the Blaenavon Townscape Heritage Programme here.