South East Wales

Historical Merthyr church awarded £100k for renovation

High Street Baptist Church Image copyright Caroe & Partners, Architects

A Merthyr Tydfil church in need of urgent repairs has been awarded £115,000 for renovation works.

The Grade II-listed High Street Baptist Church currently has a leaking roof and a partially collapsed ceiling.

The lottery grant will help pay for a £225,000 restoration project.

David Brill, chairman of the church's friends group, said: "The grant from Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has literally been the answer to our prayers."

The building is the second-oldest English Baptist church in Wales and was built on the site of an old brewery in 1840-41.

It has not had any major work done since 1900 and as a result the slate roof is leaking, parts of the plaster ceiling have collapsed into the upstairs gallery and internal walls are suffering from damp.

The HLF grant will also provide money to develop a programme of education and activities to increase visitor numbers to the church.

Mr Brill said. "The Friends have been working hard to create events to raise money to carry out the repairs and the response from church members and non-members alike has been fabulous.

Image copyright Caroe & Partners, Architects
Image caption The money will help pay for repairs to the damaged roof

"It has been a joy to see people united and working towards a common goal, namely to secure the future of High Street Church - it really has brought the church together.

"But without HLF, we would be buying bowls, buckets and tarpaulins to catch rain coming through the roof, and buckets and spades for children from sunday school and the kids club to dig out the built-up areas around the church."

The church hosts various community groups and clubs, including the People's Kitchen, a cooking project which feeds homeless people in the area.

One of its leaders, Val Williams, said: "I am absolutely delighted that the funding received by the Friends of High Street will help to ensure that the premises will be able to continue to host vital social activities in an economically deprived area.

"But not only that - it also helps to ensure that a site of immense local historical importance is preserved."

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