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Personalities help community to start revitalising Swansea landmark building

Broadcaster Huw Edwards (pictured) and Welsh Government Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport Lord Elis-Thomas are due to help secure a lively future for a celebrated Swansea building this week.


They are set to join local people at a launch event for a project which will develop a plan to revitalise the 146-year-old Morriston Tabernacle.  

Swansea Council wants to help it regain its position as a pivotal local location.

Robert Francis-Davies, cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: "We're delighted that Huw - who is a great supporter of Welsh chapels - and Lord Elis-Thomas will be with us at the Tabernacle this Friday (note: Oct 12).

"This project represents an important development in the history of a building of national significance, one of only two listed Grade 1 within the city.

"It was once the heartbeat of the local community - and it can be again. Over the coming months, we'll be asking local people and organisations to tell us what they need from the building and what ideas they have; I encourage them to play their part."

The building is at the heart of Morriston, a community that was key to Swansea's growth as a 19th century industrial powerhouse.

The council's revitalisation plan comes at a time when the building is in better condition than ever in living memory. However, it is used only for a limited amount of time each week.

Now council officer Jacqualyn Box is based at Tabernacle from where she will gather the views of people and organisations across the community and understand their aspirations. These will include existing venues with which the Tabernacle could dovetail in future.

Her 18-month project may result in funding applications to bodies such as the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The revitalisation plan - Morriston Tabernacle: Sustaining for Future Generations - is being funded by the HLF under its Resilient Heritage Programme.

The £71,300 HLF award is supporting the work of Jacqualyn to develop a business plan and fundraising plan. This will include developing a new governance and management model for the chapel. It will consider legal changes needed for a new way of operating, find new complementary uses for the building that generate income allowing it to be sustainable and will develop and support volunteers. 

At the end of the 18 months an event will be held and documents produced to share learning and good practice for other groups and organisations facing similar challenges.

Richard Bellamy, head of HLF in Wales, said: "Thanks to National Lottery players, custodians of historic buildings can access Resilience Heritage funding to explore options for the sustainable use, management and administration of historic buildings.

"Tabernacle Chapel Trust, in partnership with Swansea Council, will engage with local stakeholders, explore new income streams and strengthen the governance of Tabernacle Chapel, one of the most iconic chapels in Wales."

More: Email Jacqualyn Box or phone her - 07827 307968.



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