The Hanbury Chapel Renovation Project, which breathed new life into a dilapidated building in Bargoed, Caerphilly, South Wales, has been rewarded for its innovative and community focused refurbishment of a Grade II listed building.
A partnership was created with the congregation of Hanbury Chapel, United Welsh Housing Association, Caerphilly County Borough Council and the Welsh Government’s Heads of the Valleys Programme, to design a modern education and community hub at the heart of the town centre in the rundown Grade II listed Chapel.
Action for Market Towns awarded the Bargoed Library project, which rejuvenated Hanbury Chapel into a state of the art library, customer service centre, café, with retained worshipping space, the Social and Community Award in the Welsh region of the UK’s most prestigious town community projec t award scheme in recognition for its efforts to nurture a thriving community.
The transformation of Hanbury Chapel was part of the larger project, The Bargoed ‘Big Idea’. An ambitious and dynamic scheme to revitalise Bargoed as a modern and sustainable 21st Century town centre, the ‘Big Idea’ included plans to demolish the town’s library building to make way for a new retail development.
Chris Wade, Chief Executive of Action for Market Towns, said, “The Action for Market Towns Awards celebrate these innovative projects and share good ideas allowing other towns across the UK to learn from our winners’ experiences.
“The quality and quantity of our entries shows that innovation and creativity is at the heart of many towns across Wales. This year’s entries really raised the bar – giving judges a difficult task – and the regional winners should be congratulated for the positive effects their projects are having in their communities.”
With over 17,000 visitors in its first month, Bargoed Library has also seen a massive 46 per cent increase in book borrowing between October 2011 and March 2012. The renovation of Hanbury Chapel has contributed significantly to improving the perception of the town centre and will continue to significantly improve access to education and cultural opportunities for the community.
Gareth Evans, Manager of Library Services for Caerphilly County Borough Council, said: “All those involved in the Hanbury Chapel project deserve huge recognition for the commendable job they have done, in turning a dilapidated and underused building into a modern and community centric centre for education and leisure. It is a privilege to be honoured by the Action for Market Towns Awards, and I hope that all visitors to the library, customer service centre, congregation space and café, enjoy the transformation that was made possible by the hard work of the entire partnership.”
Ian Gilbert, Chair of United Welsh, added: “This building is the result of an extremely successful collaboration between many partners. It’s safe to say that converting a chapel built in 1906 into a modern community facility whilst still maintaining the history and character of the building was a challenge. Hanbury Chapel is further evidence of real partnership working delivering tangible outcomes for the benefit of the whole community.”