Case Studies - Llangurig Community Centre
LLANGURIG COMMUNITY CENTRE AT THE CROSSROADS
When the local primary school closed in Llangurig, the village lost its most important focal point and the only building capable of holding community meetings and events. Despite Llangurig’s central location at the junction of the A470 trunk road and the route to Aberystwyth, the long-term sustainability of this ancient community was now at risk.
The Llangurig Community Council called a public meeting where it was agreed to set up a steering group to investigate the options. Powys County Council responded by offering Llangurig’s 300 residents the choice of creating community centre facilities in the redundant school premises or a financial contribution towards converting some other building.
The steering group chose to put their efforts into restoring a smaller but equally iconic building in the centre of the village called Church House - a disused and decaying church hall managed by a largely inactive local charity. But it has been a hard and frustrating four-year slog, involving complex negotiations with the charity, funding bodies, the County Council and the Community Council (whose land next to the hall is needed for access and outdoor events).
The steering group has established an entirely new charitable trust, Llangurig Community Centre, with four trustees and six other Committee members to run the building. The community has been consulted about the activities they want to see there. An architect funded by the County Council has drawn up plans for a major refurbishment project which is expected to cost £250,000. This will give the hundred-year-old building disabled access, new toilets and kitchen and a mezzanine floor overlooking the hall. Fundraising has so far secured offers and promises of almost half the total needed.
The council’s Community Hub Programme also funded the employment of a community development consultant to carry out further consultations, develop a business plan and help with fundraising. This in turn quickly highlighted the need for further work by the Committee – planning activities, promotion, volunteer recruitment and training in charity governance - which will all be necessary to create a financially sustainable community centre.
But this quietly efficient group is taking it all in their stride. They are already thinking about the possibilities for converting a disused public toilet block next door to Church House in an ambitious "phase two" development.