Work has begun on a £1.8 million development project to transform St Elvan’s Church Aberdare into a Community Heritage Centre. The redesign of St Elvan’s, located in the commercial centre of town, aims to attract tourists visiting the Valley’s.
St Elvan’s church community and heritage centre project team has awarded the contract for this work to Henstaff, a Welsh construction company who will transform this iconic building into a 21st century centre for use by the community of Aberdare and the surrounding district.
Visitors to the town will find a church building that will have an exhibition and heritage experience, a tourism and information desk, café, social activities and community engagement events, concerts and rooms for hire.
Councillors Steve Bradwick and Mike Forey who are this project said, “A £1.8 million investment at the heart of Aberdare town centre which is exactly where St Elvan’s is situated is a fantastic boost to the town. It protects the commercial integrity of the businesses that border the church grounds and will help bring much needed visitors into the town. This scheme will also compliment the development at the Cynon Valley museum and The Cynon Linc project which demonstrates a town that believes in its future”.
The £1.8 million has been raised by the St Elvan’s Community Heritage project team from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Pen Y Cymoedd Wind farm Community Fund, Cadw, James Pantyfedwen Foundation, The National Church Trusts, The Parish of Aberdare, Welsh Government Community Scheme, Welsh Church Act Fund and Church In Wales.
Richard Bellamy, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales, said: “Wales’s historic and diverse places of worship are so often at the heart of our communities, and St Elvan’s is no exception. Thanks to National Lottery players, we are able to fund urgent structural repairs as well as improved facilities and visitor information, granting a much loved building a new lease of life so it can continue to serve its local community and be relevant for all its members.”
Marc Phillips, Chair of Pen y Cymoedd Wind Farm Community Fund said “We are delighted to be able to support the St. Elvan’s project. Not only will this iconic building be safeguarded, its redesign will provide a range of new community facilities for Aberdare and the Cynon Valley.
“We are particularly pleased to be supporting the creation of a new Community Heritage Officer post, the recruitment and training of a volunteer team and the provision of work and educational placements. The Welsh language and Welsh culture has a long and powerful history in the Valley, and the project will highlight and celebrate this rich heritage.”
St Elvan’s church
St Elvan’s church is Grade II* listed and was built in 1852 to designs by London architect Andrew Moseley. It is situated in the centre of Aberdare and its Conservation Area. Its history is closely linked to the town’s industrial development.
The church is in the gothic style and the steeple, which can be seen far across the valley, contains 8 bells. The church’s gothic styled interior is at the heart of its history with its high Anglican churchmanship. The Eden Memorial commemorating the fallen of World War One lists 222 names of soldiers from the Parish of Aberdare and is largest of its kind in the South Wales Valleys.
About Heritage Lottery Fund
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLottery and #HLFsupported
About Pen y Cymoedd Wind Farm Community Fund
The Fund has been established by energy company Vattenfall for the benefit of the communities hosting the Pen y Cymoedd Wind Farm.
The independent Pen y Cymoedd Wind Farm Community Fund CIC is responsible for managing the £1.8 million a year Fund set up by Swedish energy company Vattenfall, the operator of the wind farm. The Fund will be in place until at least 2036.