Tuesday 27 October 2015
Much of the funding will be used for places of worship, which occupy a special place in the historic environment of Wales. There are over 3,000 listed places of worship in Wales, which demonstrate the quality of their architecture and craftsmanship and their importance in cultural life over the centuries.
The future security of historic places of worship across Wales is currently under threat for many reasons, including declining congregations and the capacity to consider future options for them.
The funding will go towards restoring and protecting many historical places of worship, including widening public access to these and creating longer-term uses for them.
Among those receiving grants is the former St John’s Church in Dowlais, Merthyr, which will benefit from £100,000 in funding to support a project to renovate the church, which has not been used as a place of worship for 20 years and is at risk in its current state, into apartments, generating 20 much-needed housing units.
The project has already been chosen to receive £300,000 from the Welsh Government’s Vibrant and Viable Places programme and the additional £100,000 will be used to support repairs to the brickwork, stone work and roof, in order to maintain the historical features of the building.
Announcing the latest round of funding, the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates said: “Historical buildings all across Wales are important in shaping our communities and telling the story of our past, while bringing significant economic benefits through tourism.
“Places of worship have been significant throughout Wales’ rich history and were once a very important part of our cultural life. This is evident from the number of beautiful places of worship in communities all across the country. At the moment around 10 per cent of listed places of worship are under threat and without support this figure is likely to rise.
“I am pleased that through this funding we are able to support the restoration of many of these places of worship and bring them back into their rightful places at the heart of their communities. In some cases we are helping them to widen public access and increasing community use, and in others we are breathing new life by looking at alternative future uses, all the while protecting these magnificent and historically important buildings for future generations to enjoy.”
Other projects being supported are the former Eglwys Deiniol Sant, in Llanuwcllyn, Bala, which will receive £30,000 to renovate into a heritage centre, community space and hostel accommodation, and St Llawddog in Cilgerran, Pembrokeshire, which will receive £20,000 to widen public use of the church and add interpretation and a heritage trail which will link with visitors from a nearby Cadw site.
Two war memorials, the All Saints Church War Memorial Clock Tower in Ammanford and St Curig’s Church World War 1 Memorial Organ in Porthkerry, Vale of Glamorgan, will also benefit from the funding.
The Deputy Minister added: “There are significant social and educational benefits to these sites and I am pleased that we are continuing to support a range of projects both in and around Communities First areas.
“Early this year I introduced the Historic Environment (Wales) Bill which will legislate to better care and protect our important historic buildings and monuments. I am pleased that through these grants we are already supporting exciting conservation projects right across Wales, which will lead the way in protecting our past for the Wales of tomorrow.”