St Gwladys’ Church Hall in Bargoed is celebrating today after being awarded £227,000 from the Big Lottery Fund which will place it firmly at the heart of community life.
The Parochial Church Council has been awarded the cash bonanza under the Lottery’s People and Places programme with the money being used to build and expand on community projects – both existing and new schemes.
Revd Jonathan Widdess, priest-in-charge of the Parish of Bargoed and Deri with Brithdir said, “We are delighted to have won the support of the Big Lottery Fund which means we can now move forward and build on our existing work.”
The cash will fund three staff for three years and allow the upgrading of some existing facilities. An existing community worker position will be replaced with a project manager plus posts for a volunteer co-ordinator and an administrator will be created.
“We will be able to do more intergenerational work to bring people of all ages together. This could range from getting older people to teach youngsters how to knit to getting youngsters to teach older people how to use computers,” said Mr Widdess.
“There are lots of things that we are doing already here but this cash boost means that our existing work is secured and at the same time we will now have the opportunity to expand.”
This cash boost comes after the congregation at of St Gwladys Church, in Bargoed, joined forces with debt counselling charity Christians Against Poverty CAP when it opened its eighth debt centre recently in South Wales.
The Debt Centre based at St Gwladys’ Church Hall is one of the tools being used to help fight poverty in the area.
“We have a clear vision here of fighting poverty – material poverty, spiritual poverty, relationship poverty and poverty of opportunity,” said Mr Widdess.
“The Debt Centre work enables us to fight material poverty and the various community projects that we run are aimed at combating relationship poverty and poverty of opportunity.
“Someone might not be able to get a job without experience but if they do voluntary work with one of our projects then they can get that vital experience.”
Hywel Thomas a spokesperson for the Big Lottery Fund said, “Church halls have long been the backbone of community life – serving as meeting places, theatres for budding thespians, fundraising venues and relief shelters in times of emergency. The list goes on.
“Funding from the Big Lottery will help St Gwladys Church Hall continue this tradition, not only as focal point for the Bargoed community, but also in its work to help people who are struggling with debt or feel isolated. The Parochial Church Council should be commended for reaching out in this way and for providing tangible support for those in need.”
The cash award from the Big Lottery Fund follows £8,500 previously secured from Children Need which is being used to run holidays clubs in the church hall.
The holiday club, provided for local children, run two days a week – offering arts, crafts and games.
Project co-ordinator Mary-Bridget Flynn-Samuels said, “The holiday club was started in response to local demand and is proving very popular making a huge difference for both the children and their parents in the school holidays.”
Picture shows St Gwladys church and church hall