Ten heritage restoration and adaptive reuse projects—including an old slate mill—are funded to revitalize distressed communities

On May 19. 2021, it was announced that ten grant awards totaling over £220,000 were awarded to community revitalization organizations across Wales in the last quarter.

The funding was made possible by program funders the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Pilgrim Trust & Cadw, and the Welsh Government’s Historic Environment Division, which provided additional in-year funding.

Stretching from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Cardiff, these grants include a project viability grant for repurposing a disused slate dressing mill, a redevelopment grant for a former library, and a renovation grant towards a community-owned pub.

Each one demonstrates the unique role of community organizations in heritage-led regeneration of historic buildings.

A £7,500 Project Viability Grant will enable the charity, Slate Heritage International, to explore possible uses for the Grade II* listed Maenofferen slate dressing mill.

This imposing mill sits in a commanding position above the former slate quarry town of Blaenau Ffestiniog and once provided employment for generations of men. One potential use to be investigated is a residential and activity centre for youth groups from across the UK.

Rubicon Dance, a long-established charity operating throughout south Wales, has been in advanced discussions with Cardiff City Council over the transfer of ownership for the Grade II listed former Roath branch library in Cardiff. It plans to restore the Victorian building, which is on Cadw’s Buildings at Risk register, to provide three dance studios.

All will have live streaming functionality and two studios will be able host performances. A social space will be created at the heart of the building with a classroom and meeting room for its full-time students and community groups, ensuring the building once again becomes a key community asset. A £20,000 Project Development Grant to Rubicon Dance will help fund a project manager who will progress the charity’s plans through the development stages.

Menter y Plu is a Charitable Community Benefit Society in Llanystumdwy, Gwynedd. In July 2019 it bought the Grade II listed Tafarn y Plu public house following a successful fundraising campaign, which included community shares.

Since then it has been running the community pub while planning a program of conservation work and sympathetic improvements. A £40,000 Capital Works grant will contribute towards the first phase of works on the first floor to create a two bedroom self-contained accommodation, which will provide the Society with greater income generation.

Matthew Mckeague, CEO of the Architectural Heritage Fund, said: “This is a diverse range of organisations that demonstrate the variety of social and community causes we support. What they all share is an ambition to revive important but underused or out of use historic buildings that will have a significant regeneration impact on the communities in which they are based. We are grateful to our funders for their continued support.”

We are seeking to support a number of new projects delivering similar impact over the next 12 months. So please do visit our website or speak to our Wales Development Manager, Adam Hitchings, about how we might be able to support you,” he added.

Full list of awards:

Project Viability grants:

  • Slate Heritage International – Maenofferen Slate Mine, Blaenau Ffestiniog £7,500
  • Sarah Brisco Trust – Sarah Brisco House, Newtown £7,500

Project Development grants:

  • Bryntail Cottage Charity – Bryntail Cottage and Miner’s Cottage, Bryntail, Llanidloes £10,000
  • Trigonos – Plas Baladeulyn, Nantlle £10,000
  • Rubicon Dance – Former Roath branch Library, Cardiff £20,000

Capital Work grants:

  • Llanelly House Trust – Llanelly House, Llanelli £28,564
  • Menter y Plu – Tafarn y Plu, Llanystumdwy £40,000
  • Melin Daron – Yr Hen Felin, Aberdaron £50,000
  • Llanfyllin Dolydd BPT – Master’s House, Llanfyllin Workhouse £40,000

Featured photo shows the abandoned slate works in Blaenau Ffestiniog, Wales.

See the Architectural Heritage Fund website.

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