Case Studies - Tirabad Village Hall

Community

TIRABAD VILLAGE HALL MAKING ITS MARK ON THE MAP

In recent years the remote village of Tirabad in the heart of the Epynt Forest and on the edge of the desolate Sennybridge Army Training Range has seemed to be a community without a future. The 50 or so residents have no shop, no post office and no school. The historic local church is closed for normal services and in need of restoration. There are few children and several houses are no longer permanently occupied. To cap it all, Tirabad Village Hall - a wooden building which originally housed the primary school and has been the centre of social life since the 1970s - is contaminated with asbestos and in desperate need of major repairs.

Residents at a crisis meeting voted overwhelmingly to keep their community building – which includes a main function room, snooker room with full size table, youth activities room and kitchen. An agreement was reached under which Powys County Council would remove the asbestos and contribute to the costs of planning and carrying out refurbishment work. The Village Hall Committee would plan the repair work, produce a business plan and take over ownership of the building.

But the Committee has had to struggle with multiple problems, and progress has been slow. The state of the building meant that most activities had to be suspended. As the community’s confidence slumped it became harder than ever to attract people to join the Committee.

Community Hub Programme funding for a consultant to carry out an extensive community consultation has helped to rebuild and retrain the Committee, and to unite rival campaigns for the restoration of the Hall and the church into one long-term community endeavour. The local vicar is among the new Committee members. An architect has drawn up plans and prepared a phased programme of Hall repairs and development - initially to stop the deterioration of the building and later to improve facilities.

Now there are plans to revive social and training activities, run local projects, cater for users of the Epynt Way long distance path, and even a possible camp site to attract visitors. The Council has helped to raise a £70,000 grant from the recently established Armed Forces Community Covenant fund and has promised contributions from a variety of other sources.

A total of £120,000 has been committed to building work so far. This includes £5,000 raised by the Committee themselves through enterprising work supporting prestigious rally car races in the Epynt Forest. This success means that the first phase of the restoration, including a new roof and internal walls, can go ahead. There’s a long way to go, but Tirabad’s place on the map of Powys communities looks more secure now than it has for several years.

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