People in Bedwas are being invited to share ideas on how a major grant can be used to transform a closed church into a community hub.
St Barrwg’s Church in Bedwas wants the whole community to be part of its exciting future after securing support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The church has been closed for the past year due to structural problems but has now been granted £180,300 for major renovation.
The congregation is keen to explore all possible uses for the building when it is restored and improved. They want the church to become central to community life as the venue for a range of activities, including concerts, exhibitions, school visits, and are holding a public meeting to hear ideas at the end of August.
The grade two listed church, which dates from the Medieval period, has already undergone major structural work. Its tower was fully repaired last year following an earlier Heritage Lottery Fund grant. Towards the end of that project, it was discovered that the main roof of the church was severely infested with deathwatch beetle, woodworm and dry rot. The problem was so severe that engineers advised a support scaffold be erected inside the church to prevent collapse and the church had to be closed.
The grant will enable the eradication of the infestation and a whole new roof structure to be built. In addition, the works will include new facilities to make the building more useable in the future, such as ramps to improve accessibility for all, a kitchenette and a lavatory.
Detailed proposals for the project are now being drawn up for a final submission to the HLF towards the end of the year so that work can begin next Spring.
Alex Glanville, Head of Property Services for the Church in Wales says, “This new grant is fantastic news for this important landmark building. The building will be restored but also be available for a wider range of people and activities – it will really take the church forward in the heart of the community for the future.”
Revd Peter Crocker, vicar of St Barrwg’s, says, “It is so sad that St Barrwg’s has had to be closed all this time but given the condition there was no option. This grant gives us the chance to re-open the church both for worship but also for use by everyone in the area – as a congregation we are very excited by the possibilities.”
Head of HLF in Wales Jennifer Stewart, added, “Wales’ many churches are an important part of our shared heritage and are strongly associated with the local identity of the towns and villages they serve. We are thrilled that this grant will help secure the future of St. Barrwg’s to be enjoyed by present and future generations not just as a place of worship, but as a focus for community activity.”
Anyone interested in the future of St Barrwg’s is invited to attend a public meeting at Bedwas Methodist Church on Wednesday 28th August at 7pm. Information about the church will be on display and church members will be available to discuss ideas and answer questions. Free refreshments will be served.