Torfaen groups celebrate £542,000 cash windfall
THREE community groups in Torfaen are celebrating a £542,000 cash windfall.
The cash injection from the Welsh Government means a new lease of life for a church hall , new facilities for a sports group, and the creation of a skills centre.
The biggest grant of £298,663 was awarded to the Ebenezer Hall initiative.
The hall, off Hanbury Road, belongs to Ebenezer United Reformed Church and was built in 1907 to accommodate the Sunday School and other activities that would not fit in the church building, such as wedding receptions and concerts.
The hall had to close in December 2011 because of the dangerous unadopted road access leading to the building.
In December 2012, its planning application was approved by Torfaen council.
Throughout the year the hall’s committee, supported by The United Reformed Church, fundraised approximately £70,000 by holding community events.
The grant will be used to refurbish the hall both internally and externally.
An entrance ramp, improved access and new car parking area will also be built. The group’s own funds will cover the costs of new equipment such as computers.
The minister of Ebenezer Chapel, the Rev Samantha Caton, said: “We never thought we would get such a grant and have been blown away with the news.
“This grant will bring back into use a facility that has for 105 years been a focal point for the community.
The initiative will make its mark by providing a modern facility for the whole community.”
The refurbishment of the hall will also include fitting solar panels and improving insulation.
A graveyard project, which has created a biodiversity environment site, will be extended to create a wildlife habitat and a community allotment.
The Welsh Taekwondo Association (Fighting Fit Gym) in Griffithstown will be granted £54,332 for the current two-floor facility to be converted to three floors, including a fitness and exercise studio.
The manager, Alastair Eustace, said: “It’s extremely exciting to receive the grant, as it will allow us to cater for more groups of people.
“We will be creating a strength-based floor, a female-friendly floor and a martial arts studio – and this grant will pay for new equipment.”
Penygarn’s Woodlands Field Ltd will be given £189,129 for two temporary metal containers to be replaced by a permanent building to be used as a skills centre.
The manager, Kevin Weaver, said: “Everyone is over the moon, as it will help to improve the facilities for local people and build on our previous success.
“From the skills centre we will teach carpentry, plumbing, electrics, painting and decorating and other skills that local people want.”
The money was awarded under the Welsh Government’s Community Facilities and Activities Programme.
AM’s delight at funding for community projects
TORFAEN Assembly Member Lynne Neagle used a question in the National Assembly to warmly welcome the news last week.
She said: “I was delighted to see that three community facilities in Torfaen have benefited to the tune of over half a million pounds in the latest round of CFAP funding.”
She also asked the minister for assurances that the Welsh Government would replace the CFAP scheme with a similar community investment initiative in the future.
Responding, the Minister for Communities and Local Government, Carl Sargeant, confirmed plans to replace the CFAP scheme.
He said: “Yes, there will be a bidding scheme for ensuring that we can continue to help communities develop better.”