Baptist church helps open new community facilities
An imaginative £800,000 scheme to help improve the quality of community facilities at Newbridge in Caerphilly county borough, South Wales has been completed and is now available for use by local groups and organisations.
A 158-year-old former church and schoolroom building adjoining Tabernacle Baptist Church in the High Street had been almost derelict since the 1960s and was proving to be a major headache for the church leaders.
Already engaged in an active programme of children and youth work and running a community luncheon club for over 50s, the church realised that additional facilities were needed for its own growing range of activities and in the wider locality generally. This prompted the vision to transform the rear building into a centre for use by groups in the community as well as the church itself.
Now renamed the Newbridge Vision Centre, the first-class facilities available for hire include two large halls, smaller meeting rooms, a computer suite and an accessible training kitchen. Visit the website for more information.
Work on the project to convert the rear building into a new three-storey centre began in April 2016 and took 15 months to complete. The Welsh Government’s Community Facilities Programme provided the major funding support along with Caerphilly County Borough Council’s Community Regeneration Fund and Tabernacle church members and friends. The James Pantyfedwen Foundation provided a grant of £10,000 while invaluable help and support was also received from a number of other organisations and individuals.
The Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Public Services, Mr Alun Davies AM, officially opened the centre on Thursday,15 February.
Mr Davies said, 'I was delighted to be invited to the opening of this fantastic new community facility, which has been made possible by nearly £500,000 from our Community Facilities Programme.
'The Programme is not just about improving buildings but is about empowering local people to get more involved with their community and the Vision Centre will provide valuable volunteering, education and training opportunities for local residents.'
Tabernacle minister the Revd Peter Cho added, 'We are really excited about the new opportunities these facilities will provide to enhance the quality of life of people in the community and our own programme of church activities which are very much community-focused. We thank God for His wonderful provision in this project and we give Him all the glory.'
Pictured at the opening are (from left) the Revd Peter Cho, Mrs Marjorie Palmer, Tabernacle church secretary, and Alun Davies, AM.
The old chapel building at Tabernacle before redevelopment and refurbishment work began.
One of the two large halls now available for hire at the complex