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High Street churches’ Ffos-y-fran boost

  • Categories : Press Release
  • 10 Nov 2022
High Street Baptist Church mural

Three prominent churches on Merthyr Tydfil High Street will be able to support even more disadvantaged and vulnerable residents as a result of over £280,000 refurbishment funding from a local grants scheme.

High Street Baptist Church, St David’s Church and Hope Church have been awarded the money by the Ffos-y-fran Large Grant Scheme, which was set up by the County Borough Council in collaboration with Merthyr (South Wales) Limited and donates £1 for every ton of coal sold from the Ffos-y-fran land reclamation scheme.

The Friends of High Street Baptist Church received £145,500 to replace the church hall roof and toilet block, restore an external mural depicting the heritage of Caedraw, provide insulation and a mezzanine floor, and make the building more disabled-friendly.

A survey commissioned by the fundraising group identified a massive amount of urgent work needed on both the church and hall. The Church restoration project was completed in 2019, and the hall is now about to go through the same process.

The total project cost is £291,000, with the remaining funding coming from the Welsh Church Act, Heritage Lottery Fund and the Church’s own funds.

Friends Chair David Brill said the hall provided ‘a resourced venue’ for socially disadvantaged children, the homeless, people with health and wellbeing needs, and vulnerable and lonely residents.

“Nearly every activity we host involves improving people’s wellbeing, including light physical exercises for older people, Slimming World classes, Zumba class, Dowlais Male Choir, rights and welfare of care-experienced children and young people, over 65’s tea dance, and Drink Wise - Age Well,” he added.

“The Ffos-y-fran Fund’s amazingly generous response will free us to fulfil the dreams we have entertained over what seems to be an eternity. The hall is so ideally sited, able now finally to be brought up to a standard which will allow us to better serve the present age. The Friends of High Street Baptist Church and the wider community are extremely grateful for the support.”

The Large Grant Scheme also awarded £110,000 to the Merthyr Tydfil Ministry Area for adaptations to make the most of the space at St David’s Church, and £28,140 to Hope Church for the refurbishment of toilet facilities.

St David’s Church offers space to charity groups focussing on young parents, the disabled, and older people, and is used by a considerable number of drop-in agencies.  The work will include the church having its pews removed and floor levelled, with enhanced kitchen facilities and children’s crèche area, and expansion of the café, to allow it to be used even more extensively.

“St David’s Church is an historically significant building in the centre of Merthyr Tydfil,” said Priest-in-charge Father Mark Prevett. It’s been in continual use since 1847, and the funding will help us deliver a 21st century multiuse community space at the very heart of our town.”

Hope Church will be using its funding to refurbish the building’s toilets, provide a disabled toilet and support the running costs of administration and cleaning. The church has around 150 people using its sustainable food pantry and ‘pets friendship cafés’ every week.

“Loneliness and isolation are prevalent issues in the county borough,” said church Trustee and pantry manager Heidi Jacobsen.  “Our friendship cafés are open to any adult who would like to get out for an hour, take part in our various activities or just sit and chat over a cuppa.”

For further information or an application form, contact the Ffos-y-fran Benefit Fund Coordinator on 07563 398667 or

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