A volunteer-led project to transform the former Caerphilly Miners’ Hospital into a community centre has hit its £925,000 fundraising target with a final grant from the Big Lottery Fund.
The Caerphilly Miners Centre for the Community has been awarded £99,600 to complete a ten-year journey to save the hospital’s historic original building for future generations.
Katherine Hughes, company secretary of the Caerphilly Miners Centre for the Community charity, said: “It is wonderful – absolutely wonderful. We know there are a lot of challenges ahead but it will be worthwhile.
“Everyone who has contributed will be working together in the same spirit of co-operation and collaboration that we have done so until now.”
The £925,000 will be spent on completely renovating the outside of the Beeches as well as transforming the upper floors of the building to host a community and commercial kitchen, a craft room, a music room, and a function hall. In addition, there will also be office space for ten local businesses. The income generated from the new facilities will ensure the sustainability of the entire community centre, which currently hosts a wide variety of classes and activities from baby and toddler groups to art clubs.
Suzanne Brown who will be managing the grant for the Big Lottery Fund, said: “We are delighted to give a grant of £99,600 towards the improvements to this iconic building in Caerphilly which will make it even more accessible to the community. The grant is made possible thanks to players of the National Lottery. This is a well-planned project and when complete it should let the Centre become more financially sustainable with a wide range of classes and activities on offer.”
Caerphilly Assembly Member Hefin David, who is a trustee and board member of the charity behind the project, said: “This successful bid will ensure that necessary improvements are made to improve the building, and the building grounds. It’s extremely welcome to receive the news this side of Christmas.
“Before long the local community, groups and visitors of the Miners Centre will be seeing the benefits of what the funding will provide.”
Wayne David, Caerphilly’s Member of Parliament and chairman of the trustees, said: “I am really delighted about this grant from the Lottery. Completion of the Miners Centre is now in sight.
“Because of this wonderful news we can really plan for the future with confidence. As Chair of the Miners Centre Trustees I would like to thank Katherine Hughes for all her hard work. Without her incredible efforts the Centre would not be the hive of activity which it is.”
Caerphilly District Miners’ Hospital closed its doors in 2011 with services transferred to Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr in Ystrad Mynach. Built in 1923, the old hospital was paid for by the miners of the Rhymney Valley after they each put aside 6d out of their weekly wage of 12s 6d to raise the £30,000 needed.
After its closure, the wider hospital site was cleared with the land sold for housing. The original Beeches building, which was bought by the miners and which is not listed, was under threat of being demolished. A group was formed which eventually led to the Caerphilly Miners Centre for the Community charity being established.
Initial fundraising of £800,000 was used to open up the downstairs of the building and the £925,000 will now be used to renovate the upper floors.