A project to transform the former Caerphilly Miners’ Hospital into a community centre has hit another significant milestone after £700,000 of its fundraising target was reconfirmed by the Welsh Government.
The Caerphilly Miners Centre for the Community hit its £925,000 target in December last year when it was awarded £99,600 from the Big Lottery Fund.
However, a technicality in the funding bid meant the Welsh Government element had to be reconfirmed.
To mark the funding’s approval, the Welsh Government’s Minister for Housing and Local Government, Julie James AM, and Deputy Housing and Local Government Minister, Hannah Blythyn, visited the project on Thursday, March 21.
Ms Blythyn said: “This investment will help to more than double the floor space available and improve access to this important community facility. Caerphilly Miners Centre for the Community helps to bring people together, to help tackle social isolation and poverty, to support jobs, provide training and the accommodation of social enterprises.
“This beautiful old building which has served the community for so long is getting a new lease of life, and I look forward to seeing this centre flourish and grow.”
Katherine Hughes, Secretary of Caerphilly Miners Centre for the Community, said: “We’re really excited about the prospects that this grant will bring. Since opening in 2015 our activities have grown and we have simply run out of space. Each week we now offer 30 activities to 350 people of all ages and circumstances, accommodate job-related courses and support 50 volunteers. The grant will enable us to expand our activities and better address key needs, like social inclusion, wellbeing and affordable places for small enterprises.”
The Building for the Future funding for Caerphilly Miners Community Centre includes more than £214,000 of Welsh Government funding and more than £500,000 of European funding.
The project is part of the Building for the Future programme, which is a Welsh Government and EU funded scheme providing £54m over six years to acquire, refurbish or re-develop unused buildings and land within or close to town and city centres across West Wales and the Valleys. The fund is projected to stimulate further investment of at least another £54 million, injecting a total of £108 million boost to communities across Wales.
The total £925,000 of funding will be spent on completely renovating the outside of the Beeches, which was the original hospital building, as well as transforming the upper floors to host a community 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.
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 with the second phase due to be completed within a year.